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Antiphospholipid Syndrome: Care Instructions

Blood clot forming

Your Care Instructions

Antiphospholipid syndrome makes the blood clot too easily. This can lead to miscarriage and other serious pregnancy problems. It can also lead to stroke, heart attacks, and blood clots in the legs or lungs that may cause death.

Antiphospholipid syndrome is caused by antibodies. Normally, the body makes antibodies that attack germs like bacteria or a virus. But with this condition, antibodies attack parts of your blood that affect how easily it clots.

This condition is usually treated with blood-thinning medicine. If you are pregnant, you will need treatment and your health will be closely watched.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor about all medicines you take.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about special care that you may need. This may include medicine you get through a shot or a vein (IV) to avoid a miscarriage.
  • If your doctor has given you blood thinners (Coumadin, Lovenox, or aspirin) to prevent a stroke or blood clots, be sure to:
    • Take your medicine at the same time each day.
    • Tell your dentist, pharmacist, and other health professionals that you take blood thinners.
    • Watch for unusual bruising or bleeding. This includes blood in your urine, red or black stools, and bleeding from your nose or gums.
    • Get regular blood tests (if you take Coumadin) to check how fast your blood clots.
    • Wear a medical alert ID bracelet.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
  • You have chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.