Antiphospholipid Syndrome - Cause

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What causes 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.

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: james55, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 16

It took doctors 15 years to diagnose my APS (antiphospholipid syndrome), which they told me was caused by SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus). I don't believe them. I have had dozens of DVTs (deep venous thrombosis) and every time I had a new clot, I got a new anti-coagulant. This has been going on for 35 years and no one has been able to tell me the cause.

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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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