Symptoms of von Willebrand disease include frequent nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, disproportionate bleeding from a cut or dental procedure, blood in urine and bleeding from the gums, according to Mayo Clinic. Those with von Willebrand disease may also bruise easily or experience bruises accompanied by lumps under the skin.
A deficiency in the von Willebrand factor, a protein that plays a large role in blood clotting, causes von Willebrand disease, states Mayo Clinic. This protein deficiency extends the blood-clotting process in those affected, which can result in excessive and prolonged bleeding. Most patients inherit the disease, but there are instances when the disease develops later in life.
Patients with von Willebrand disease are at risk for complications such as iron deficiency anemia, swelling and pain from bleeding in the joints and death from blood loss due to uncontrolled bleeding, according to Mayo Clinic. People who experience bleeding that is protracted or not commensurate with the injury sustained should consult a doctor immediately.
If a person has von Willebrand disease or a family history of severe bleeding and is scheduled to have surgery or a dental procedure, she should ensure the operating team is aware of her situation to avoid postsurgical complications, advises Mayo Clinic. Patients should also wear a medical ID bracelet and carry a medical alert card in case of accidents.