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: my granson, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

As a baby whenever he was ill he always broke out in cold sores in his mouth and on his hands. Now since he has been at school he has been getting seizures, where he would freeze and stare for a few minutes and quite often vomit after. Now he has just spent a few days in hospital as he had a full blown seizure where the full body was shaking. He has had all the tests i.e., brain scan, lumbar punch, EEG, and they were all clear. They did say he had a sinus infection so he had antibiotics for a few days, but still can't get to the bottom of it. It is very worrying and horrible to see a child go through this, and still not knowing what the cause of it is.

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Comment from: dsr0529, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 29

With antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is there a tendency for your knees and lower calves to swell and throb. I have always had a history of migraines. Iron deficiency anemia along with APS was diagnosed in 6/15. I am currently on Xarelto. I continue to have migraines. My current concern is the swollen knees, dry skin and thin nails. I am taking biotin. I see my hematologist in 1 month.

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