Antiphospholipid syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Antibodies directed against phosphorylated polysaccharide esters of fatty acids, includes lupus anticoagulant, and anticardiolipin. Associated with immune-mediated illnesses, syphilis, and stroke; thought to be from a hypercoagulable disorder.

Antiphospholipid syndrome occurs if the body's immune system makes antibodies (proteins) that attack phospholipids. Phospholipids are a type of fat found in all living cells and cell membranes, including blood cells and the lining of blood vessels. Researchers don't know what causes the immune system to make antibodies against phospholipids. However, it is more common in women and people who have other autoimmune or rheumatic disorders, such as lupus. Antiphospholipid syndrome can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, eclampsia, miscarriages, DVT &PE.

Antiphospholipid syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome causes blood clots to form in the body's arteries and veins. Usually, blood clotting is a normal bodily process. It helps seal small cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls. Clotting prevents you from losing too much blood. In antiphospholipid syndrome, however, too much clotting can block blood flow and damage the body's organs. Researchers don't know why antiphospholipid antibodies cause blood clots to form. Some believe that the antibodies damage or affect the inner lining of the blood vessels, which causes clotting. Others believe that the immune system makes antibodies in response to blood clots damaging the blood vessels.

Although the disorder isn't considered Hereditary, research indicates that relatives of people with antiphospholipid syndrome are more likely to have the antiphospholipid antibodies.


Symptoms include,

    Migraine headache.

  • Mild memory loss & poor memory.

  • Hearing impairment.

  • Depression and psychosis.

  • Leg swelling and pain.

  • Skin rash.

  • Heart valve problems.

  • Nose and gum bleeding.


Your doctor can use blood tests to confirm diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome. These tests check your blood for any of the three antiphospholipid antibodies: anticardiolipin, beta-2 glycoprotein I (?2GPI), and lupus anticoagulant.

To test for antiphospholipid antibodies, a small blood sample is takenfrom your vein in your arm using a needle. The procedure usually is quick and easy, but it may cause some short-term discomfort and slight bruise.

You may need a second blood test to confirm positive results. This is because a single positive test can result from a short-term infection. The second blood test often is done 12 weeks or more after the first one.


Antiphospholipid syndrome has no cure. However, medicines can help prevent complications. The goals of treatment are to prevent blood clots from forming and keep existing clots from getting larger. You may also have another autoimmune disorder, such as lupus. If so, it's important to control that condition as well. When the other condition is controlled, antiphospholipid syndrome may cause fewer problems.

Anticoagulants, or "blood thinners," are used to stop blood clots from forming. They also may keep existing blood clots from getting larger. These medicines are taken as either a pill, an injection under the skin, or through a needle or tube inserted into a vein (called intravenous, or IV, injection).

Warfarin and heparin are two blood thinners used to treat antiphospholipid syndrome. Warfarin is given in pill form. Heparin is given as an injection or through an IV tube. There are different types of heparin. Your doctor will discuss the options with you.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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