ANTIPHOSPHOLIPID SYNDROME (APS) - Overview, Facts, Types
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPID SYNDROME

ANTIPHOSPHOLIPID SYNDROME (APS)

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) happens when antibodies that make your blood even more likely to clot are incorrectly produced by your immune system, especially in the legs, liver, lungs, and brain, which can cause harmful blood clots. Antiphospholipid syndrome can also lead to abortion and stillbirth in pregnant women. 

The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) may be caused by a dormant condition, such as an autoimmune disorder, infection, or certain medicines. The syndrome may also evolve without an underlying cause. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent organ damage or death.

There is no treatment for antiphospholipid syndrome, but the chance of blood clots will be minimized with medicine.

TYPES

There are three distinct entities of the APS disease:

  • If there is a pre-existing autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus is most often present.
  • A simultaneous multi-organ failure and obstruction of small vessels.
  • The absence of any simultaneous existing diseases is also a type of APS.

If you have unexplained nasal or gum bleeding, an extremely severe menstrual period, diarrhea that has a bright red tinge or looks like ground coffee, dark or bright red stool, and unexplained stomach discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.

SYMPTOMS

Common symptoms of antiphospholipid syndrome:

  • Repeated miscarriages or stillbirths
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots in your legs 
  • Transient ischemic attack 
  • Rash

Less common symptoms of antiphospholipid syndrome:

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor should arrange blood testing to monitor for unusual clotting and for the existence of antibodies to phospholipids if you’ve ever had episodes of blood clots or miscarriage that are not explained by established health conditions. 

Antibodies that manifest in the blood at least twice support a diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome in examinations administered 12 or more weeks apart. 

Diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome is only made when these antibodies start to cause health issues. You may have antiphospholipid antibodies, and any signs or symptoms may never occur. 

TREATMENT

If you have blood clots, medications should include a mixture of blood-thinning drugs. Heparin is quick-acting and is administered by injections. On the other hand, tablet form of Warfarin takes several days to take action; so is Aspirin, but some are fast-acting. 

You have an elevated chance of bleeding when you are taking blood thinners. Your doctor will monitor your dosage with blood testing and make sure that your blood is properly clotted to avoid bleeding from wounds or bleeding from a bruise under the skin.

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