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Antiphospholipid Syndrome

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Deep Vein Thrombosis in the Right Leg with Swelling and Redness. Coutesy wikipedia.

Deep Vein Thrombosis in the Right Leg with Swelling and Redness. Courtesy wikipedia.

What Is Antiphospholipid Syndrome?

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disease and a blood clotting disorder characterized by these clinical and laboratory criteria:

Clinical criteria – recurrent vascular thrombosis (clots in veins/arteries) from hypercoagulability (abnormal excessive clotting) and/or recurrent complications of pregnancy that include loss of the fetus  (miscarriage) and pre-eclampsia or eclampsia.

Laboratory criteria – persistently elevated anticardiolipin, anti–beta-2 glycoprotein I, and/or lupus anti-coagulant antibodies in blood.

In antiphospholipid syndrome autoantibodies are produced by the body and directed against negatively charged phospholipids that are found in the outer layer of cell membranes and platelets. B2-glycoprotein-I (a protein in blood plasma) has been found as a major target antigen for antiphospholipid antibodies.

Q: Are phospholipids important in the body?

A: Yes.  Phospholipid molecules are an essential part of cell membranes. They form a barrier around cells that protect the cell, allow movement of oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of the cell, and regulate other small molecules through the cell wall. Because phospholipids are widespread in the body, this disorder can produce a large variety of symptoms and affect many organs.

One severe effect of APS is the development of a blood clot in a vein deep in the arm or leg, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT can cause pain, swelling, redness, or increased warmth in the affected limb. Deep vein clots can break off, travel to the lungs, and cause pulmonary embolism.1 Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency.

Treatment is with anticoagulant medications and blood monitoring.

What Is Antiphospholipid Syndrome In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ebc/signs.html []