Blood Flow and Veins

Lupus Anticoagulants

Lupus anticoagulant (LA) is an autoantibody that causes blood clots. It is also known as lupus anticoagulants or LA. They are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

What are lupus anticoagulants?

Lupus anticoagulants (LAs) are a type of antibody produced by your body’s immune system. While most antibodies attack the disease in the body, LAs attack healthy cells and cell proteins.

They attack phospholipids, which are essential components of cell membranes.

What are the symptoms of lupus anticoagulants?

LAs can increase the risk of blood clots. However, antibodies can be present and not lead to a clot.

If you develop a blood clot in one of your arms or legs, symptoms may include:

A blood clot in your heart or lungs may cause:

  • chest pain
  • excessive sweating
  • breathing difficulties
  • fatigue, dizziness, or both

Blood clots in your stomach or kidneys may lead to:

  • belly pain
  • thigh pain
  • nausea
  • diarrhea or bloody stool
  • fever

Blood clots can be life-threatening if they aren’t treated promptly.

Lupus anticoagulants cause miscarriage

Small blood clots caused by LAs can complicate a pregnancy and induce miscarriage. Multiple miscarriages may be a sign of LAs, especially if they occur after the first trimester.

If you’ve tested positive for lupus anticoagulant antibodies, you likely want to know what effect this will have on a pregnancy or if the condition played a role in a previous miscarriage.

Better your understanding of this diagnosis with this review, which includes the risks and treatments for this condition.

What is the associated condition of LA?

Roughly half of people with LAs also have the autoimmune disease lupus.

Tests for lupus anticoagulants

Your doctor may advise to test for LAs if you have unexplained blood clots or have had multiple miscarriages.

No single test helps doctors conclusively diagnose LAs. Multiple blood tests are required to determine if LAs are present in your bloodstream. Repeat testing is also needed over time to confirm their presence. This is because these antibodies can appear with infections, but go away once the infection resolves.

PTT test for LA

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test measures the time it takes your blood to clot. It can also reveal if your blood contains anticoagulant antibodies. However, it won’t reveal whether you specifically have LAs.

If your test results show anticoagulant antibodies, you’ll need to be retested. Retesting normally happens in about 12 weeks.

If your PTT test shows anticoagulant antibodies, your doctor’s advice other types of blood tests to look for signs of other medical conditions.

There’s a slight risk of infection or bleeding, as with any of the above blood test.

Lupus anticoagulants and antiphospholipid antibodies

Lupus anticoagulants are antibodies against substances in the lining of cells. These substances prevent blood clotting in a test tube. They are called phospholipids.

People with antibodies to phospholipids (aPL) may have a very high risk of forming blood clots. Despite the name anticoagulant, there is no increased risk of bleeding.

Causes

Most often, lupus anticoagulants and aPL are found in people with diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

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