Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome

Antibodies are blood proteins that fight foreign agents. When they turn against the body's own cells, they are called autoantibodies.

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Symptoms

This condition is a rare disorder of the immune system. The immune system - including the thymus gland, the spleen, lymph nodes, special types of tissues in the digestive system and bone marrow, lymphocytes and antibodies - protects the body from foreign substances, cells and tissues.

This can lead to strokes, heart attacks and miscarriages. These antibodies were first discovered in people who have lupus. They occur in others as well. A person who has this may also be at risk for blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism), migraines and miscarriages.

Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of this syndrome are not yet known. However, some infections and drugs can cause the body to make these abnormal blood-clotting proteins.

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Diagnosis

A blood test can show whether the antibodies are present.

If your doctor orders a syphilis test, it's not necessarily because he or she thinks you might have syphilis. Rather, a false-positive result of a syphilis test can indicate antiphospholipid antibodies in your blood.

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Treatments

This condition is usually treated with blood-thinning drugs, such as aspirin and warfarin.