In May, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) announced the launch of its new educational program and awareness initiative to acquaint teenage girls, young women and their healthcare providers with von Willebrand disease (VWD). The VWD Young Women’s Education Campaign focuses on five signs and symptoms:
- Easy bruising
- Frequent or prolonged nosebleeds
- Heavy, prolonged menstruation
- Prolonged bleeding following injury, childbirth or surgery
- Prolonged bleeding during dental procedures
Young women exhibiting one or more of these signs/symptoms are encouraged to visit their doctor. “Women struggle with the consequences of this disorder for an average of 16 years before they receive a proper diagnosis because sometimes healthcare professionals interpret VWD symptoms as gynecologic, when in fact the underlying cause is hematologic,” said Josie Weiss, PhD, FNP-BC, Associate Professor, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. “The teenage years are both the best time and provide the best opportunity to recognize von Willebrand disease because the onset of menstruation often reveals a commonly overlooked symptom–heavy and prolonged bleeding.”
The AANP program includes educational materials for healthcare professionals and patients. The materials consist of VWD fact sheets, a screening questionnaire and links to hemophilia treatment centers. A virtual toolkit, including several downloadable resources, can be found on the AANP Web site.