Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease. This happens when your immune system fights against normal cells.
In this condition, your body makes antibodies that attack a kind of fat (phospholipids) in cells. This causes many problems. It makes your blood clot too easily. Your body may also make anticardiolipin antibodies. Cardiolipin is a type of fat in cells.
This disease often causes:
This issue affects women more often than men. Women with this condition are more likely to have pregnancy problems. It isn’t known if antiphospholipid syndrome gets worse or stays the same during pregnancy.
This condition may also be called Hughes syndrome, sticky blood syndrome, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.
People with this condition don't have set symptoms. It’s often found when a woman has had:
It’s often difficult to diagnose this condition. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your health history. He or she will ask you about blood clots and pregnancies. You’ll also have an exam.
Your healthcare provider will also do blood tests. These may include tests to check for the following:
Your healthcare provider may need to repeat all or some of these tests to confirm your diagnosis.
Treatment for this condition often includes blood-thinner medicine. You may need different medicines or amounts during pregnancy.
If you have this condition and are pregnant, your healthcare provider will watch you closely. You’ll likely need checkups more often. You may also need to have the following tests done:
Getting early prenatal care and working closely with your healthcare provider can increase your chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
This illness can cause serious problems during pregnancy for both you and your baby. Women who have this condition are also at risk for other issues. Some of these include:
Antiphospholipid syndrome is a lifelong condition. Women need treatment. This will lower your chance of getting blood clots. It will also reduce your risk for problems such as stroke and miscarriage.
Medicine can reduce your risk for blood clots, but they can still happen. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s care plan and have tests done as often as he or she recommends. Support groups can help you meet other people with your condition. Ask your healthcare provider about support groups in your area.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have signs of a stroke or blood clot.
Symptoms of a stroke include trouble talking, smiling, moving your arms, or walking. Signs of a blood clot include leg pain or swelling and trouble breathing.
You should also call your healthcare provider if you’re bleeding or bruising more than normal.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: