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Obesity and Joint Disease in Hemophilia

CDC is working with care providers to raise awareness in the hemophilia community about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and helping to develop safe and effective weight loss activities for people with hemophilia.

Chart: Joint Range of Motion Change in Lower Limbs among Young Males with Hemophilia by Body Weight Status* Overweight vs. normal: rate of ROM (Range of Motion) loss for lower limbs -0.149; upper limbs -0.015. Obese vs. normal: rate of ROM loss for lower limbs -0.237; upper limbs -0.003.Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder caused by a mutation in one of the genes involved in the production of blood proteins necessary for normal blood clotting. Because these genes are located on the X chromosome, one of the sex chromosomes, hemophilia primarily affects males.

One of the most severe complications of hemophilia is chronic, crippling joint disease that results from repeated bleeding into joints. In a CDC study that examined the development of joint disease over time in more than 6,000 young boys and adolescents with hemophilia receiving care in federally supported hemophilia treatment centers throughout the U.S., children who were overweight or obese developed joint disease at a faster rate than those whose weight was normal for their age. As expected, the joints in the lower extremities including the knees and ankles were most adversely affected by the increased weight.

Among the children and adolescents with hemophilia, 32.5% were overweight or obese at the beginning of the study which is nearly identical to the 32.7% prevalence of overweight and obesity among all youth in the U.S. Although it is especially important that people with hemophilia maintain a healthy weight to protect their joints, losing weight may be particularly challenging because certain physical activities especially those involving contact sports may be risky for people who have a bleeding disorder.

To address these special challenges CDC is working with care providers to raise awareness in the hemophilia community about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and helping to develop safe and effective weight loss activities for people with hemophilia.

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  • Page last reviewed: July 11, 2011
  • Page last updated: July 11, 2011
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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