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Do the 5!

The National Hemophilia Foundation, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed the Do the 5! education project as part of its National Prevention Program to help prevent or reduce the complications of bleeding disorders.

Do the 5! is an easy way to help people with bleeding disorders and their caregivers remember the five key steps to living longer and healthier lives.

What Are the Do the 5! Steps?

  1. Have an annual checkup at a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC)— receiving care at an HTC improves overall health and well-being.
  2. Get vaccinated—remember, hepatitis A and B are preventable.
  3. Treat bleeds early and adequately— this can help prevent long-term damage.
  4. Exercise and maintain a healthy body weight—being active helps protect joints.
  5. Get tested regularly for bloodborne infections— blood products are safer than ever, but keeping a watchful eye on them helps ensure continued safety.

Annual Checkup
Have an Annual Checkup at a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC). At your checkup, the different health care specialists who make up your hemophilia care team will likely:
  • Review your medical records
  • Collect a blood sample for virus testing (if you have decided to take part in the CDC’s Universal Data Collection Program, the sample will be stored or “banked” for possible future blood safety studies.)
  • Measure how well your joints move
  • Ask you to fill out a quality-of-life survey
Studies have shown that people who receive care at an HTC are more likely to:
  • Live longer
  • Have fewer complications from bleeding
  • Avoid long-term damage resulting from improper management of a bleed
Studies have also shown that people treated at HTCs have:
  • Lower unemployment rates
  • Better emotional health and family stability
  • Lower rates of school absenteeism
  • A greater sense of being able to manage their care
Get Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that children two years of age and anyone at high risk for hepatitis A and B infection, inluding people with bleeding disorders, should receive the vaccination series for hepatitis A (two shots) and hepatitis B (three shots).

To determine if you or anyone else in your family would benefit from a hepatitis A or hepatitis B vaccination, talk with your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) team,

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The signs and symptoms of hepatitis can range from none to life-threatening: symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle and joint aches, liver tenderness, and weight loss.

Bleed Treatment
Treat Bleeds Early and Adequately

Bleeds should be treated right away with factor replacement therapy. The CDC recommends treatment within one hour of symptom onset to help prevent complications and long-term damage. Do not wait for physical symptoms to occur.

Treating right away will likely result in the need for less clotting factor and lead to a faster recovery.

To treat a bleed quickly and effectively, you should:
  • Administer clotting factor as soon as an injury occurs.
  • Know the early signs of a bleed and administer clotting factor.
  • Learn the signs of a serious bleed so that you know when to call your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) and when to go to the emergency department.
  • Ask your HTC team if home therapy is a good option.
    • For people with severe bleeding disorders, home therapy or self-infusion of clotting factor allows treatment as soon as a bleed occurs.
  • Always have clotting factor on hand, even when you’re not at home.
For more on how to recognize the early signs of a bleed, click on Identifying Different Types of Bleeds.
Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight can help prevent bleeding by reducing stress on joints. Yet, many people with bleeding disorders avoid physical activity for fear of causing bleeding. Parents of young children with bleeding disorders may also fear getting their children involved in physical activities.

Studies show:
  • Exercising regularly and eating healthy helps control weight and keeps muscles strong and flexible.
  • Young people between the ages of 13 and 19 with hemophilia and von Willebrand disease are just as likely to be overweight as other youth their age in the general population. Unfortunately, the complications that overweight and obese youth with bleeding disorders suffer are much more severe than their peers in the general population as excess weight puts extra stress on already fragile joints and muscles.
  • A CDC study of young men with hemophilia found that those with a higher body mass index had less joint mobility regardless of the severity of their hemophilia.
Be Tested Regularly

Blood products are safer than ever. Keeping a watchful eye on these products is key to ensuring continued safety for people with bleeding disorders who use them. One way to accomplish this is for people with bleeding disorders to be tested regularly for bloodborne infections.

One way to do this is through the Universal Data Collection (UDC) program, which is a national project run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with federally funded Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs).

Patients treated at HTCs can decide whether or not to participate in this program. All UDC participants’ identifying information is kept private by the HTC.

Here are some services provided by the CDC’s UDC program:
  • Free blood testing for hepatitis A, B, C, and HIV
  • Storage of blood samples for a quick investigation of any new bloodborne infections
  • Patient Notification System, which provides direct access to the latest withdrawals and recalls of infusion products; to enroll, please call 1-888-UPDATE-U