Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein. VWF binds factor VIII, a key clotting protein, and platelets in blood vessel walls, which help form a platelet plug during the clotting process. The condition is named after Finnish physician Erik von Willebrand, who first described it in the 1920s.1
VWD is the most common bleeding disorder. It is carried on chromosome 12 and occurs equally in men and women.1
Many people with von Willebrand disease don’t know it because the signs are mild or absent. The most common sign of the condition is abnormal bleeding. The severity of the bleeding varies from one person to another.
Symptoms might include:
The usual cause of von Willebrand disease is an inherited abnormal gene that controls von Willebrand factor, a protein that plays a key role in blood-clotting.2