This month of March, Hemophilia Awareness Month, we’re exploring myths about hemophilia. Myths are stories, sometimes created by people in an attempt to make something understandable when scientific information is unavailable. The ancient Greeks had many myths that we still reference. Remember the myth of the demigod warrior Achilles, son of Theta, a sea goddess, and Peleus, a mortal? His mother dipped the infant in the river Styx, which was said to have protective powers, so that Achilles could be kept invulnerable in battle. But his mother held the infant by his heel, which did not get wet, and so his heel was his weak spot. Today, we say that someone with a weakness has an “Achilles heel.”
Myth: Children with hemophilia will grow out of it.
This is a myth. Someone who says this to you does not understand the science behind hemophilia.
Truth: Hemophilia is a lifelong condition. Your child does not have a disease that will get better or go into remission. Your child will not grow out of hemophilia: the mechanism for producing clotting factor is defective. Hemophilia is part of his genetic makeup, just like traits for hair or eye color, which can’t be outgrown.
But someday–maybe someday soon–we will have gene therapy, and your child may be cured.