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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) are related to abnormal blood clotting. The outcome of a blood clot depends on its size and location.

Blood clots can form in, or travel to, the arteries or veins in the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and limbs. Clots can reduce or block blood flow. This can damage the body's organs and may cause death.

Major Signs and Symptoms

Major signs and symptoms of blood clots include:

  • Chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Pain, redness, warmth, and swelling in the limbs
  • Ongoing headaches
  • Speech changes
  • Upper body discomfort in the arms, back, neck, and jaw
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)

Blood clots can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.

Pregnant women who have APS can have successful pregnancies. However, they're at higher risk for miscarriages, stillbirths, and other pregnancy-related problems, such as preeclampsia (pre-e-KLAMP-se-ah).

Preeclampsia is high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy. This condition may progress to eclampsia. Eclampsia is a serious condition that causes seizures in pregnant women.

Some people who have APS may develop thrombocytopenia. This is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of blood cell fragments called platelets.

Mild to serious bleeding causes the main signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia. Bleeding can occur inside the body (internal bleeding) or underneath or from the skin (external bleeding).

Other Signs and Symptoms

Other signs and symptoms of APS include chronic (ongoing) headaches, memory loss, and heart valve problems. Some people who have APS also get a lacy-looking red rash on their wrists and knees.

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August 1, 2010