Shortly after I was diagnosed with DVT and PE, I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome, or APS. It is an autoimmune condition in which your blood clots abnormally because your body mistakenly produces antibodies that attack phospholipids, a type of fat that plays a key role in clotting. APS affects women much more than it does men, and not a lot is known about how a person acquires it. It is believed to be triggered by an environmental factor, such as an infection in an individual with a genetic makeup that makes him or her more susceptible to the disease, or from an autoimmune condition.
Antiphospholipid antibodies are present in 15 – 20% of all cases of DVT, and in one-third of new strokes occurring in people under the 50 years old. In women, antiphospholipid antibodies can be a major cause of recurrent miscarriages and pregnancy complications. APS can also lead to numerological symptoms like chronic headaches and migraines, heart disease, and bleeding as a result of low platelets, which is another problem that I have encountered.
My main treatment for APS is taking blood thinners, and attending regular appointments with my healthcare team, which includes a family doctor, hematologist, endocrinologist, rheumatologist and gynecologist. It’s challenging to live with a disease that not many people have heard of, and a disease that has no cure, but I do. Below are my resources to help you live with and understand antiphospholipid syndrome.