What are anticardiolipin antibodies?

Anticardiolipin antibodies are antibodies that the body creates to attack cardiolipin and phospholipid. Cardiolipin is a part of the inner section of the mitochondrial membrane in cells. The phospholipid is an important part of the cell wall. The antibodies directly attack the cardiolipin and the phospholipid of the cell walls.

Also called antiphospholipid syndrome, anticardolipin antibodies occur as a result of specific problems, such as liveoid vasculitis, lupus, and syphilis. Although many people experience symptoms because a condition is present, some people may not have symptoms at all. It is often diagnosed when symptoms are present and becomes particularly bothersome for the sufferer.

When anticardiolipin antibodies are present, patients may experience frequent blood clots. These blood clots can be found in the legs, vital organs, and the brain. Blood clots in the legs are known as deep vein thrombosis. Vital organs such as the lungs, kidneys, or heart can be damaged, leading to organ failure. When clots occur in the brain, neurological symptoms or a stroke are likely to occur.

Only tests can confirm the presence of anticardiolipin antibodies. Blood tests can help identify antibodies. A specialist will likely order the test as a diagnostic measure when trying to find the exact cause of a clot. For example, an obstetrician or gynecologist will order the test if there is a miscarriage or pregnancy complications, and a hematologist will look for the cause of clots in the legs.

Blood tests for anticardiolipin antibodies are done more than once. When multiple clots or problems with the pregnancy occur, a doctor will order a test. Two tests are usually done and are separated by 12 weeks, and antibodies must be present on both occasions to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, it is necessary to carry out more than two tests, which will also be separated by 12 weeks.

If the blood clots occur as a result of an underlying condition, you should begin treatment for that condition. Treatment of recurrent clots is also recommended. In many cases, doctors will prescribe blood thinners to help prevent clots. Low-dose aspirin therapy may also be helpful.

Close monitoring is crucial. Patients taking medications should be watched for bleeding because anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting. A small injury can be dangerous. Patients should also be watched for new clots or serious damage from existing clots. Women who are pregnant and taking medication receive regular check-ups and check-ups to monitor the health of the unborn baby.

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