Making healthy habits stick, with help from

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With everything that life throws at you, it’s not always easy to make healthy habits stick. But for people with a bleeding disorder, diet and exercise are two important ways you can help keep your body—and especially your joints—healthy.1,2

Here are a few quick tips from that could help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent joint damage.

Eating right and staying strong

An apple a day might not actually keep the doctor away, but eating right is a key element of living a healthy lifestyle. And that might be even more true for people living with bleeding disorders.1

While there isn’t a special diet recommendation for people with bleeding disorders, many of the same guidelines from the USDA apply: more fruits and veggies, less solid fat and sugar.3 But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat the foods you love. Try looking up new recipes that include more healthy ingredients. Cauliflower pizza crust might be your new weeknight favorite!

You can get more info about healthy eating habits at And before starting any diet, remember to check with your healthcare provider (HCP) or Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC).

To keep your body healthy, keep it moving

Exercise is another key aspect of maintaining joint health and staying at a healthy weight.2 While people with bleeding disorders used to be discouraged from participating in sports, modern treatment means that many people can continue to be physically active. In fact, it’s encouraged.2,4

Keep in mind that not all physical activities may be safe for you to do. The National Hemophilia Foundation’s Playing It Safe pamphlet includes a helpful list of physical activities and the level of risk associated with them.4 Here are some examples of low- and high-risk activities.

This is another area where it’s important to talk with your HCP or get in touch with a Hemophilia Treatment Center before getting started. And if you want more info about different types of exercises and how they may help you, check out

Stay connected

Feeling inspired to making some healthier life choices? Your first step might be to get in touch with your Hemophilia Treatment Center, where you can get expert advice about managing a bleeding disorder. Your healthcare provider team can also help with any questions about diet and exercise. And of course, connect with the Bleeding Disorders community on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, and sign up to get the latest news and updates.


  1. Thomas Smith K. Weighty matters. HemAware website. January 30, 2015. Accessed January 27, 2021.
  2. Goto M, Takedani H, Yokota K, Haga N. Strategies to encourage physical activity in patients with hemophilia to improve quality of life. J Blood Med. 2016;7:85-98.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. December 2010. Accessed January 27, 2021.
  4. Playing it safe: bleeding disorders, sports and exercise. National Hemophilia Foundation. 2017. Accessed January 27, 2021.

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Have a (Healthy) Heart!

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day associated with celebrating love, affection and romance. The symbol of Valentine’s Day? A heart. Well, not an anatomical heart, but a rendering of it. The symbol we use now was popular as far back as the Middle Ages, and was popular during the Renaissance,  as seen in art depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus. By the 18th century, it was being used in Valentine Day cards. The origins of St. Valentine’s Day (to be specific) are found in Christian and even Roman tradition.

The heart is often associated with feelings: we describe someone as being “all heart,” having a “big heart,” or being “heartless.” Young children, often unaware of the contents of their own bodies, can still draw a heart (and a stomach!) when asked to draw what’s inside of them. Feeling the heart beat, they know they are alive. (Feeling their stomach hurt, they know they are hungry) Seeing themselves bleed, they worry,  mainly about their heart not working. They learn that the heart pumps blood; when they see a bleed, they may fear bleeding to death. Especially if they have hemophilia!

So we have to be careful when we educate our children about their heart, blood and hemophilia. My book Teach Your Child about Hemophilia will help! (Order here)

And the heart has an interesting connection in hemophilia beyond making our blood travel about the body. Sarah Aldrich reported in HemAware, the magazine of the National Hemophilia Foundation, that in a six-state study of more than 3,400 men with hemophilia, CDC investigators found that after HIV and intracranial bleeds, the third most common cause of death was heart disease. This was comparable to nonhemophilic men. Hemophilia does not give you a Valentine’s Day get-out-of-jail-free card just for having hemophilia!

Subsequent studies confirmed this. Atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease… all show up in older men with hemophilia. Unlike hemophilia, these are linked to lifestyle. Stress, diet, smoking and obesity surely have a negative impact on heart health.

Be nice to you heart on Valentine’s Day. Refuse the chocolate! (I did) Start thinking of ways to exercise safely; eliminate high sodium and processed foods; cut down on alcohol; stop smoking. Especially stop smoking! And for your little ones with hemophilia, learn how they understand how the body works. It might be quite different than what you think! When they give you a Valentine’s Day card, it might be a good idea to get a conversation going about hearts, health and hemophilia!

Happy Valentine’s Day! 2.6.13

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