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HEMOPHILIA: “A ROYAL DISEASE”

HEMOPHILIA is a rare blood disorder in which the patient’s blood does not clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting factors. An inherited disease, it is usually passed from mother to son. Because it was prevalent in European royal families, it is also known as “a royal disease.”

According to https://hemophilianewstoday.com/2017/05/24, it is believed that Victoria, Queen of England, was a carrier of hemophilia and that she passed the disease onto three of her children. Prince Leopold died at age 30 from a post-accident hemorrhage. Princess Alice and Princess Beatrice married royalty in other European countries.

Princess Alice, a hemophilia carrier, had a son who died from the disease in early childhood. One of her daughters, Irene, married Prince Henry of Prussia. She passed the gene to the German royal family. Alice had two sons, one of whom died at age 4. The other son died at age 56.

Alice’s second daughter, Alix, married Tsar Nikolas II of the Russian royal family. Tragically, all of their children were killed during the Russian revolution. The mutant gene ended there.

Princess Beatrice’s daughter, Victoria Eugenie, married King Alfonso XII of Spain. They had five children—one daughter and four sons. The daughter was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, but her children did not inherit the disease. Two of the four sons had hemophilia, but they died without having children.

It is interesting to note how the mutant gene, hemophilia, affected history. Today, hemophilia has affected people from all walks of life including actors, sports legends, and ordinary people. Richard Burton, the British actor and husband of Elizbeth Taylor, had hemophilia. In 1964, he and Elizabeth Taylor set up the Richard Burton Hemophilia Fund. He died in 1984 from a stroke at the age of 58.

Cyclist Barry Haarde is a hemophilia advocate who has cycled across the United States twice to raise awareness for the disease. He was infected with HIV and hepatitis C during a blood transfusion more than thirty years ago. He is the only man with HIV, hepatitis C, and hemophilia to have cycled across the country.

Ryan White was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A at three days old following extensive bleeding after his circumcision. During the 1980’s he contracted AIDS from unscreened blood transfusions, and he inadvertently became the poster boy for AIDS.

If you have a family member who suffers from hemophilia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski