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

“Slicko” Movie on Health Care

You might feel like moving to Canada, UK, France or even Cuba after you watch “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s new entertainment documentary on the US health care system. With his characteristic folksy manner, light humor and up close personal profiles, Moore tackles the convoluted managed healthcare system, and manages to shock, shame and scare the audience…and that includes even those of us who know how this system works and who advocate better coverage.

I wondered if he would touch on pharmaceutical companies, PBMs and chronic disorders like hemophilia. Some things we already knew: Fifty million Americans uninsured (more like 44 million); the US spends a greater percentage of its GDP on health care than any other country (about 15%); the US ranks a dismal 37 in overall healthcare compared to other countries, while France and Canada rate in the top ten. Not a pretty picture. America’s for-profit health care sector is driven by the bottom-line, where medical directors of insurance companies receive annual bonuses for how much money they save the company–through denying claims of ill people. Contrast that to England, where doctors receive bonuses for the number of patients they convince to stop smoking.

Moore’s excursion to Cuba is a highlight of the movie, where he begs for medical care (via a megaphone from a boat) for suffering 9/11 rescue workers from the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where al-Qaeda prisoners get state-of-the-art, free care. He is scared off, and instead enters Havana Hospital where his entourage gets free care, treatment and new teeth. Clever and convincing.

This was a good movie, well done, but not his best. It’s myopic and selective. It’s very sad when you learn that 18-month-old Mychelle dies, but then that’s the end of the story. While Moore flits on to the next healthcare system victim, you are left wondering if the mother did not have a multimillion-dollar lawsuit to pursue, but the movie does not provide any details on what happens to those who were denied care with catastrophic consequences. And that makes you realize the movie does not discuss at all the role of litigation and malpractice suits. It also does not discuss the pharmaceutical industry and the role of biologics–which have caused our costs to rise, but are also what the consumer demands.

I found it baffling that Moore focused only on private insurance and the uninsured, yet makes no mention of Medicare, Medicaid, and other state and federal programs. Still, even without mentioning these, he has a strong case for riddling the US healthcare system with holes. Managed care appears a disaster and no one in the movie comes out looking worse than Kaiser Permanente.

Moore’s timing is perfect for the hemophilia community, which has battled managed care and insurance companies for years. The community has been fighting especially hard these last two years to keep factor in the formulary and to ensure choice of product and treatment regime. Moore could have a movie with our community alone.

In trying to take on the entire US healthcare system, Moore is able only to focus on a few cases, limited perspective and few solutions, other than universal coverage, like Canada or England. But the movie is worthwhile, thought provoking, and is “must see” for our community and anyone involved with the healthcare community. Thumbs up!

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