Signs and symptoms of antiphospholipid syndrome can include:
- Blood clots in your legs (DVT). The clots can travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolism).
- Repeated miscarriages or stillbirths. Other complications of pregnancy include premature delivery and high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia).
- Stroke. A stroke can occur in a young person who has antiphospholipid syndrome but no known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
- Transitory ischemic attack (TIA). Similar to a stroke, a TIA usually lasts only a few minutes and causes no permanent damage.
- Rash. Some people develop a red rash with a lacy, net-like pattern (livedo reticularis).
Less common signs and symptoms include:
- Neurological symptoms. Chronic headaches, including migraines; dementia and seizures are possible when a blood clot blocks blood flow to parts of your brain.
- Cardiovascular disease. Antiphospholipid syndrome can damage heart valves.
Bleeding. Some people have a decrease in blood cells needed for clotting (platelets). If you have this condition (thrombocytopenia), you might have few or no symptoms.
However, if your platelet count drops too low, you might have episodes of bleeding, particularly from your nose and gums. You can also bleed into your skin, which will appear as patches of small red spots (petechiae).
When to see a doctor
If you have another autoimmune condition, talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested for antiphospholipid antibodies.
Other reasons to contact your doctor include:
- Pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness in your leg or arm. Seek emergency care if vein swelling and pain are severe or are accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath.
Vaginal spotting or bleeding during pregnancy. This can be a sign of miscarriage or other pregnancy problems. However, many women who spot or bleed have a healthy pregnancy.
If you've had pregnancy losses or unexplained severe complications of pregnancy, talk to your doctor about getting tested.
If you have antiphospholipid syndrome and you're thinking about getting pregnant, ask your doctor what treatments are available during your pregnancy.
When it's an emergency
Seek emergency care if you have signs and symptoms of:
- Stroke. These include sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis of your face, arm or leg; difficulty speaking or understanding speech; visual disturbances; severe headache; and dizziness
- Pulmonary embolism. These include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood-streaked mucus
- Deep vein thrombosis. These include leg swelling or pain
- Other bleeding. These include unexplained bleeding from your nose or gums; an unusually heavy menstrual period; vomit that is bright red or looks like coffee grounds; black, tarry stool or bright red stool; and unexplained abdominal pain