Photo of the elderly


We are very fortunate that for the first time we have a population of people with haemophilia in Ireland who are going to live long enough to have to confront the challenges of ageing. Life expectancy figures for people with haemophilia from different studies vary from a median of 63 to 75 years of age. This average life expectancy is continually increasing as treatments improve. Many people with haemophilia can expect to live beyond their 70th or 80th birthdays. This is very reassuring and a testament to the improvement in comprehensive care and the availability of safe and effective coagulation therapies for people with haemophilia over the past decades.

The normal challenges of ageing for men include the risk of heart disease, cancer, kidney disease and osteoarthritis. Some of these risks can be increased or exacerbated in people with haemophilia by their co-morbidities including existing haemophilic arthropathy (joint disease), HIV and/or hepatitis C.

It is a well-recognised phenomenon that men generally do not like going to doctors and do not engage at a sufficient level with doctors in relation to preventative health. This is probably not the case in people with haemophilia who are used to visiting their haemophilia treatment centres and who, in the vast majority of cases, have developed longstanding relationships with healthcare professionals whom they trust.

In addition to all the age-related health risks common to everybody, people with haemophilia also need to deal with the long-term damage to joints caused by repeated bleeds. A significant portion of this section will be devoted to joint health. Joint damage affects people with haemophilia of all ages, so this information is addressed to a wide spectrum of ages. Ageing starts at birth. Moreover, there are many behaviours young people can adopt today—a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and a moderate intake of alcohol—that will serve them well in later years.

For more information, see our Ageing and Haemophilia Booklet.