Antiphospholipid Syndrome - Symptoms

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What is antiphospholipid syndrome? What are antiphospholipid syndrome symptoms and signs?

The antiphospholipid syndrome is a disorder of the immune system that is characterized by excessive clotting of blood and/or certain complications of pregnancy (premature miscarriages, unexplained fetal death, or premature birth) and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (such as anti-cardiolipin or lupus anticoagulant antibodies) in the blood. Clotting disorders associated with antiphospholipid syndrome include blood clots deep within the legs (deep venous thrombosis, or DVT) and clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism, or PE). Patients with antiphospholipid syndrome have both blood clots and antiphospholipid antibodies that are detectable with blood testing.

Antiphospholipid syndrome is also called phospholipid antibody syndrome, cardiolipin antibody syndrome, and Hughes syndrome in honor of the doctor who first described it.

It is important to note that antiphospholipid antibodies can also be found in the blood of individuals without any disease process. In fact, antiphospholipid antibodies have been reported in a small percentage of the normal population. Harmless antiphospholipid antibodies can be detected in the blood for a brief period occasionally in association with a wide variety of conditions, including bacterial, viral (hepatitis and HIV), and parasitic (malaria) infections. Certain drugs can cause antiphospholipid antibodies to be produced in the blood, including antibiotics, cocaine, hydralazine, procainamide, and quinine.

Nevertheless, the antiphospholipid antibodies (a protein) are not considered normal blood proteins and have been found to be associated with a number of illnesses. These illnesses include abnormal clotting (thrombosis) of arteries (stroke and infarction) and/or veins (phlebitis), premature miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), abnormally low blood platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), purplish mottling discoloration of the skin (livedo reticularis), migraine headaches, and a rare form of inflammation of the nervous tissue of the brain or spinal cord called transverse myelitis. Antiphospholipid antibodies have also been detected in over half of patients with the immune disease systemic lupus erythematosus.

Researchers are recently also finding that there are patients with slowly progressive memory problems and patients with a form of "atypical multiple sclerosis" and antiphospholipid antibodies detectable in their blood.

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Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) that I've had my entire life (I'm now 57) has caused 8 blood clots, 4 in the left leg, 1 in the right leg, 1 in the brain that caused ischemic stroke, 1 that traveled through the valves of my heart causing a heart attack and the last one broke free and traveled all through my body causing a TIA (transient ischemic attack). I've had a massive cerebral hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm. I have epilepsy and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), I have protein S deficiency. I'm a willing volunteer in any types of studies on APS. Maybe someone could find some type of link to the above.

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Comment from: sadlady, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 19

In 2003 my husband had a stroke, first they said Bell's palsy, then brain tumor, then stroke, ok In 2003 while doing IVF (in vitro fertilization) for three years, he got a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in his leg, which shot to his heart. I never thought about the toe issue of gout. He was moving along, healing every day, and then out of nowhere, there was a brain bleed and seizure, he was in hospital for 135 days, day by day, seizure, intubated, strapped down, not speaking; the most horrible thing you could watch the man of your dreams go through. He finally came home, not the same but he was home with us. Then not 9 months later after Rituxan, plasmapheresis, Lovenox every 12 hours, IVC (inferior vena cava) filter, there were clots everywhere, he was home. Three weeks ago he had a heart attack, just a month after his mom passed. Now I am back at square 1.

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