Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) is the most common type of bleeding disorder, affecting males and females equally (it is estimated that about 1-2% of the world’s population has vWD). However, because symptoms can be mild, many people affected have not been diagnosed. People with vWD have decreased or malfunctioning Von Willebrand factor (VWF) activity and therefore cannot form a proper platelet plug.
VWF has two roles in blood coagulation:
- VWF is the protein that makes platelets stick together to form a platelet plug.
- VWF is a carrier protein for factor VIII. VWF ensures that there is enough factor VIII in the blood stream, t carries it to the site of injury, and protects it from being broken down in the blood stream.
This Voices video from 2010 features the Cieri family from Florida (all whom have von Willebrand Disease). Each member of the family describes what living with a bleeding disorder is like, the challenges they face, and how it’s helped to make them closer as a family.