Antiphospholipid Syndrome - Cause

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What causes and risk factors of antiphospholipid syndrome?

The cause of antiphospholipid syndrome is not completely known. Antiphospholipid antibodies reduce the levels of annexin V, a protein that binds phospholipids and has potent clot-blocking (anticoagulant) activity. The reduction of annexin V levels is thought to be a possible mechanism underlying the increased tendency of blood to clot and the propensity to pregnancy loss characteristic of the antiphospholipid syndrome. Certain genes may be risk factors for the development of antiphospholipid syndrome.

Antiphospholipid antibodies, such as anticardiolipin, have also been associated with decreased levels of prostacyclin, a chemical that prevents the clumping together of normal blood clotting elements called platelets.

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Comment from: Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I am 69 years old, almost 70. In November 2013 I had an odd spell and had numbness on my right side and lost my speech. I had a stroke and was rushed to the emergency room and subsequently admitted to the hospital and was told I had a stroke. I had no signs or symptoms prior to the stroke. Doctors ran several tests and everything returned normal with no signs of a bleed anywhere. I wore a Holter monitor in the hospital which showed very occasional irregular heartbeats. The doctor decided to run one more blood test which was the antiphospholipid (APL). It came back positive and they thought it was a false positive. I was placed on warfarin for the stroke and sent home. Over Thanksgiving I wore a 24 hour monitor while doing normal activities and was then diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. This past week I had a repeat of the APL and it proved highly positive. Prior to this stroke I had had no symptoms but generalized fatigue.

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Comment from: mozelle, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 14

At age 63 I had DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in popliteal vein after fracture and in cast for 6 weeks. Doctor attributed it to immobility. Fourteen years later I developed plantar fasciitis, and orthopedist also made me see a vascular doctor. I was diagnosed with 3 DVTs at the same time in 3 gastrocnemius veins. I was treated with Lovenox and Coumadin and then diagnosed by hematologist after extensive blood tests with Factor V Leiden, and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)/Hughes syndrome. I have a history of 40 years of migraine headaches, had miscarriage, minor heart valve problem, and a variety of other things that I think are related to this syndrome. Amazing that I was diagnosed so late in life, and that I survived what my hematologist described as 'I have been getting blood clots my whole life'. I am now on warfarin for life and under care of hematologist who specializes in APS.

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