A nosebleed may often be overlooked, but for some it should be a warning sign. June is Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Awareness Month. Symptoms may be silent or range from frequent nosebleeds to gastrointestinal bleeding, lung and brain hemorrhages. Aterio-venous malformations (AVMs) in the lungs, brain and liver also occur in a significant percentage of persons with HHT and can be life-threatening or disabling.
HHT is a genetic disorder of the blood vessels that affects about one in 5,000 people across all ages and ethnic groups, 20 percent of those will likely suffer death or disability from the disease. Nine out of 10 in the HHT population are not yet diagnosed. With proper diagnosis and treatment severe symptoms can often be prevented or controlled.
Two local families have organized blood drives in Shreveport and Bossier City, La. in order to replenish the blood supply and raise awareness of HHT.
Krystal Pearce, Benton, La. resident, and two of her sons have been diagnosed with HHT. After having a stroke at 34 years old, Krystal underwent further screening for herself and her three sons—two of which she learned also have HHT.
A’Lisa Hamilton, a school teacher in Bossier City, La., begins every school year explaining to her 2nd grade students not to worry when they see her get nosebleeds. She does worry though, for herself and her three daughters who all have HHT because the nosebleeds are just one symptom of what can become a life-threatening disease.
(INTERVIEWS AND IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE TO THE MEDIA UPON REQUEST FOR BOTH OF THESE FAMILIES.)
Due to the recurrent bleeding, many persons with HHT require or become dependent on blood transfusions. Throughout June, LifeShare Blood Centers is holding blood drives for HHT awareness and replenishment.
Local HHT Awareness Blood Drives:
Saturday, June 23
LifeShare Blood Centers
8910 Linwood Ave., Shreveport
1523 Doctors Drive, Bossier City
8a.m. – 3p.m.
Sunday, June 24
The Simple Church
Shreveport Convention Center
8a.m. – 1p.m.