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Quiz: What Do You Know About Exercise and Hemophilia?

  • Chris Woolston
  • Posted March 11, 2013

Exercise used to be off-limits to people with hemophilia. As late as the early 1960s, doctors worried that something as gentle as walking or a jog through the park could trigger internal bleeding. Today, people with hemophilia are hitting the gyms and playing just about everything except rough contact sports. They're having fun, staying fit, and enjoying all of the other standard benefits of exercise. And far from putting their bodies at risk, they're actually taking control of their disease. How much do you know about exercise and hemophilia? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. Exercise can prevent internal bleeds and protect joints.

True

False

2. If you already have chronic synovitis or other form of joint damage, it's generally too late for exercise to do much good.

True

False

3. Weight lifting is too dangerous for most people with hemophilia.

True

False

4. Which of the following can help lower the risk of bleeds during exercise?

a. Thorough conditioning

b. Warming up and stretching

c. Prophylactic factor treatment

d. All of the above

5. According to the National Hemophilia Foundation, which of these sports is generally NOT safe for people with hemophilia?

a. Baseball

b. Wrestling

c. Gymnastics

d. Bicycling

e. All of the above

Your Results

1. Exercise can prevent internal bleeds and protect joints.

The correct answer is: True

The simple truth is that strong, flexible joints are less likely to bleed. A doctor or physical therapist can recommend specific exercises to protect vulnerable joints.

2. If you already have chronic synovitis or other form of joint damage, it's generally too late for exercise to do much good.

The correct answer is: False

As reported in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, carefully structured exercise including weight training and water therapy can generally improve the strength and range of motion of damaged joints. Just as important, such exercises can help prevent further damage.

3. Weight lifting is too dangerous for most people with hemophilia.

The correct answer is: False

As demonstrated in a recent study published in the journal Haemophilia, gentle, low-impact weight training can be extremely helpful for patients with hemophilia. Researchers found that 20 to 25 repetitions using light weights improved both strength and balance with very little stress on joints.

4. Which of the following can help lower the risk of bleeds during exercise?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above

Proper conditioning and warm-ups are important for any active person with hemophilia. Prophylactic (preventive) factor treatments may also be necessary, especially if a person suffers repeated bleeds despite every precaution.

5. According to the National Hemophilia Foundation, which of these sports is generally NOT safe for people with hemophilia?

The correct answer is: b. Wrestling

Doctors don't always agree on which sports are best for patients with hemophilia, but a few things are clear. "Combat" sports -- including wrestling, boxing, karate -- are basically out. Other high-risk sports that are usually discouraged include rugby, football, and rock climbing. At the other end of the spectrum, relatively gentle sports such as golf, swimming, bicycling, and walking are considered extremely safe. Naturally, people with hemophilia will want to take common-sense precautions -- gymnasts should avoid extreme maneuvers that are likely to result in injury, for example, and cyclists with hemophilia should wear shin guards and face masks in addition to a helmet.

References

Hilberg, T et al. Physical training increases isometric muscular strength and proprioceptive performance in haemophilic subjects. Haemophilia. January, 2003. 9(1): 86-93.

Buzzard B. Sports and hemophilia: antagonist or protagonist? Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. July, 1996. 328: 25-30.

Coalition for Hemophilia B. Factor Nine News. Sports and hemophilia. Summer 1998.

Buzzard B. Physiotherapy for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Hemophilic Synovitis. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. October, 1997. 343: 42-46.

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