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World Haemophilia Day: How Food Intake Impacts the Condition

For those with haemophilia, a rare genetic disorder, there is neither cure, nor can it be prevented.

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Can you imagine a slight cut causing profuse bleeding? For those with haemophilia, a rare genetic disorder, there is neither cure, nor can it be prevented.

The condition is life-long, and could threaten a person's survival if not managed well. Episodes of excessive pain and swelling in the joints, nose bleeds, unexplained deep cuts and bruises with excessive bleeding, or excessive bleeding post surgeries could all be fatal.

The input of food and its nature may not play a strong role in tackling the disease as it is a genetic condition. However, certain dietary practices it may help to reduce the bleeding and maintain the upkeep of the cells. Thus, clean eating is a priority.

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Choose Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Food

It has been noticed that those who suffered from haemophilia have Vitamin D deficiency.

Children who are deficient in Vitamin D should ideally check their Vitamin D levels twice a year and consume supplements. This supplementation is lifelong, along with a consistent exposure to the sun twice a day for 20 minutes.

Moreover, one should choose low-fat, low-sugar organic foods since weight gain can lead to pressure on the joints thereby increasing the susceptibility for fractures and consequent bleeding.

Thus, avoid foods that contain trans-fat since it could lead to free radical formation that would affect the red blood cells. Supplementation plays an important role in those with haemophilia to be able to maintain their blood cells. Supplementation should be in consultation with a haematologist.

Supplement Your Body With Vitamins

Supplementation of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and iron is recommended. These help in maintaining the health of red blood cells.

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Vitamins B6 and B12 facilitate the production of RBC’s and collagen, and also help in the absorption of iron. Collagen is important as it contributes in the healing of cuts and wounds. In other words, it acts as cement in wound healing.

Foods rich in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 include meat, fish, egg yolk, fermented cheese, poultry, fortified foods, whole grains etc. Further, vitamin C helps to prevent the breakdown of collagen.

So, combine these foods with those rich in Vitamin C such as Indian gooseberry aka amla, bell peppers, lime and citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, strawberries, kiwis, pineapples, tomatoes etc. to allow for maximum absorption of iron.

Consume Iron-Rich Food

Consume iron rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, liver, raisins, spinach, asparagus cabbage etc. Additionally, protein is important as it is a carrier for most vitamins and nutrients. Milk and milk products, eggs, chicken fish, tofu, sprouts and pulses are all recommended.

Consumption of red meat is also a good way to increase your haemoglobin, however regulated consumption is important to avoid gaining excess weight.

The most important Vitamin for clotting of blood is the presence of vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. It contains four of the 13 proteins, that are required for blood clotting. It is present in green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, black beans etc.

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Increase Intake Of Diary

Dairy acts as a good source of calcium and protein.

Calcium is important as it contributes to the clotting process and prevents excessive bleeding. It also contributes in preventing degeneration of the joints.

So, aim to get in a good number of leafy greens and almonds in your diet to help boost calcium absorption.

However, it is important to note that some combinations of foods may not work- like iron and green tea.

Overall, as a rule, blood thinning supplements should be avoided strictly to prevent bleeding and huge blood losses.

(Delnaz Chanduwadia, Chief Nutritionist & Dietician, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai)

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