Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (antiphospholipid syndrome) is a mistake of human immune system which attacks the normal protein in human body . Antiphospholipid syndrome can form the blood clots in the arteries or veins. In addition, it can cause the pregnancy many complicated problems, such as miscarriage and stillbirth.

The leg veins is the most popular place where the blood clots are formed. The clots also can form in arteries. The blood clots may occur in any organ, but they tend to affect the lungs, brain, kidneys, heart and skin.

There are two types of APS: primary and secondary. Primary APS will not have any associated condition. The secondary form is associated with another immune disorder, such as lupus, an infection, or the use of a medication (such as chlorpromazine or procainamide).

How common is antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

The exact prevalence of antiphospholipid syndrome is unknown. This condition is thought to be fairly common, and may be responsible for up to one percent of all thromboses. It is estimated that 20 percent of individuals younger than age 50 who have a stroke have antiphospholipid syndrome. Ten to 15 percent of people with systemic lupus erythematosus have antiphospholipid syndrome. Similarly, 10 to 15 percent of women with recurrent miscarriages likely have this condition. Approximately 70 percent of individuals diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome are female. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

The common symptoms of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome  are:

  • Blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) that may travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Repeated miscarriages or stillbirths and other complications of pregnancy, such as premature delivery and high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia)
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots in the arteries of your arms or legs (peripheral arterial thrombosis)

Other less common signs and symptoms include:

  • Neurological symptoms. Chronic headaches, including migraines, dementia and seizures are possible when a blood clot blocks blood flow to parts of your brain.
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Rash
  • Bleeding

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Pain or swelling in your leg or arm
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding during pregnancy
  • Signs and symptoms of stroke and pulmonary embolism


What causes antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

  • Some certain infections, including syphilis, HIV infection, hepatitis C and Lyme disease, among others, have a higher incidence of having antiphospholipid antibodies.
  • The high blood pressure medication hydralazine, the heart rhythm-regulating medication quinidine, the anti-seizure medication phenytoin (Dilantin) and the antibiotic amoxicillin can cause developing antiphospholipid antibodies.
  • Genetic predispositions.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

There are many risk factors for antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, such as:

  • Having an autoimmune condition, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Having certain infections, such as syphilis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C or Lyme disease.
  • Taking certain medications, such as hydralazine for high blood pressure, the heart rhythm-regulating medication quinidine, the anti-seizure medication phenytoin (Dilantin) and the antibiotic amoxicillin.
  • Having a family member with antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Become pregnant
  • Be immobile for a period of time (such as when you’re on bed rest or sitting during a long airline flight)
  • Have surgery
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Take oral contraceptives
  • Have high cholesterol and triglycerides levels

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is antiphospholipid antibody syndrome  diagnosed?

Although the APS may be not the reason, many symptoms can be occurred

However, a doctor may order tests to detect the antibodies associated with APS when:

  • Blood clots or miscarriages occur for no apparent reason
  • A young person has a heart attack or stroke

Blood tests for antiphospholipid syndrome look for at least one of the following three antibodies in your blood:

  • Lupus anticoagulant
  • Anti-cardiolipin
  • Beta-2 glycoprotein I

How is antiphospholipid antibody syndrome  treated?

Standard initial treatment

If you have thrombosis, standard initial treatment will use a combination of anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications. For example Heparin, warfarin and aspirin.

Treatment during pregnancy

Anticoagulation therapy is more complex during pregnancy. The therapy is expensive, requires regular injections and carries some significant risks of side effects.

  • Some forms of heparin such as enoxaparin (Lovenox) and dalteparin (Fragmin)  are known as low-molecular-weight heparin, which you can inject yourself under your skin. Heparin is considered safe to take during pregnancy.
  • If you’re pregnant, your doctor may recommend taking one tablet of aspirin daily in addition to the heparin, to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.

 Experimental treatments

  • These medications are normally used to lower cholesterol, but they may reduce the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular disease in antiphospholipid syndrome.
  • New blood thinners (anticoagulants)

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remediesthat can help me manage antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome:

There is any reliably prevention for APS although vaccination for viral infections (including influenza) could reduce the risk of APS triggered by viral infection. However, lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood of blood clots.

To reduce your risk of blood clots:

  • Quit smoking
  • Increase physical activity
  • Avoid medications (if possible) that are suspected of increasing the risk of blood clots or causing APS; discuss this with your doctor before stopping any medications

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: August 7, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019