There are three main types of vWD. Within each type, the disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. Bleeding symptoms can be quite variable within each type depending in part on the VWF activity. It is important to know which type of vWD a person has, because treatment is different for each type.
Type 1 vWD
Type 1 vWD is the most common form. People with Type 1 vWD have lower than normal levels of VWF. Symptoms are usually very mild and many people with vWD will lead normal active lives, with no need for treatment. Symptoms can include regular nosebleeds, bruising, and in women, heavy periods. Still, it is possible for someone with Type 1 vWD to have serious bleeding, especially after trauma or surgery.
Type 2 vWD
Type 2 vWD involves a defect in the structure of the person's von Willebrand Factor (VWF). The VWF protein does not work properly, causing lower than normal VWF activity. There are different Type 2 VWD defects. Symptoms are usually moderate and can include regular nosebleeds, bruising and, in women, heavy periods. Some sub-types, such as 2b or 2n, are quite rare and are associate with more severe bleeding symptoms.
Type 3 vWD
Type 3 vWD is usually the most serious form of the disease. People with Type 3 vWD have very little or no VWF. Symptoms are more severe. In addition to symtoms associated with milder forms of vWD, people with Type 3 vWD can have bleeding into muscles and joints, sometimes without obvious injury.