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Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to Robert A. S. Roubey, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Thurston Arthritis Research Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Antiphospholipid Syndrome

  • antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • APLS
  • APS
  • Hughes syndrome
  • lupus anticoagulant syndrome
  • PAPS
  • primary antiphospholipid syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • CAPS
  • catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (Asherson's syndrome)

General Discussion

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a rare autoimmune disorder characterized by recurring blood clots (thromboses). Blood clots can form in any blood vessel of the body. The specific symptoms and severity of APS vary greatly from case to case depending upon the exact location of a blood clot and the organ system affected. APS may occur as an isolated disorder (primary antiphospholipid syndrome) or may occur along with another autoimmune disorder such as systemic lupus erythematosus (secondary antiphospholipid syndrome).

APS is characterized by the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies in the body. Antibodies are specialized proteins produced by the body's immune system to fight infection. In individuals with APS, certain antibodies mistakenly attack healthy tissue. In APS, antibodies mistakenly attack certain proteins that bind to phospholipids, which are fat molecules that are involved in the proper function of cell membranes. Phospholipids are found throughout the body. The reason these antibodies attack these proteins and the process by which they cause blood clots to form is not known.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome Resources

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The information in NORD’s Rare Disease Database is for educational purposes only. It should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. NORD’s reports provide a brief overview of rare diseases. For more specific information, we encourage you to contact your personal physician or the agencies listed as “Resources” on this report.

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