The symptoms of APS are many and varied and may come and go at their own free will.
It is unlikely that you will have them all. You may have one or two of the symptoms one week and different ones the next week. Occasionally you may be lucky and get a break with no symptoms. It is important that you do not panic, just because it’s on the list, it doesn’t mean you’ll develop it.
Some suffer from most of the symptoms on the list and there are others who never really feel ill but developed a clot ‘out of the blue’. The degree of illness can vary a huge amount between different people.
Likely symptoms are:
Fuzzy headaches / migraines. These may go on for days at a time. These often have limited response to painkillers or migraine medications.
Pins and needles / numbness. Usually in the hands and feet but sometimes elsewhere. There may also be hot and cold feelings in the hands and feet.
Visual disturbances. This can vary from small flashes of light to complicated flickering cog shapes appearing with no warning, often in a corner of your vision.
Dizziness / vertigo. Dizziness is a feeling that most of us, with or without this disorder, have encountered. Vertigo is a feeling that the room is spinning or that you may feel that your body is moving and all else is stable.
Speech / slurring. Sometimes you may use an inappropriate word, your speech may become slurred. In severe cases, you may speak complete nonsense.
Co-ordination. Small things such as doing up buttons or shoes may become more difficult. You may bump into things more often.
Muscle pain / cramps. These can vary between feeling as though you have run a marathon to severe cramping and muscle spasms.
Blurred vision / double vision. Your vision may cloud over from time to time, or you may see double, especially when you first open your eyes. Reading and any other close work may become impossible.
Memory loss. This can be so serious that you forget your address for a moment or mild enough to mean you need to keep a diary to remember your day’s appointments.
Extreme fatigue. This is hard for a normal person to understand. It is not like ordinary tiredness. It is overwhelming and impossible to fight. The only solution is to rest.
Livedo reticularis. Blotchy skin is a pattern of the blood vessels under the skin that resembles tartan. Usually it is seen on the legs but can occur anywhere.
Brain fog. The inability to think straight. You may get lost in the middle of a sentence and completely forget what you were talking about.
Transient Ischemic Attacks. TIA’s are mini strokes. This is usually a sign of an impending stroke when pieces of blood clots block an artery leading to the brain so depriving the brain of oxygen.
Epilepsy. Some epileptic patients have been found to have APS.
Low platelet count. Strangely APS can sometimes cause a lack of blood platelets as well as extreme clotting.
Blood clots. These can occur almost anywhere in the body.
Miscarriages. Women may suffer miscarriages, low birth weight babies or pre-eclampsia.
Splinter haemorrhages. These occur in the finger or toe nails. They appear as bluish lines running from bottom to top of the nail.
Leg ulcers. Often paired with varicose veins.
Hearing loss. You may have a sudden loss of hearing in one or both ears caused by the lack of circulation.
Heart valve problems. In severe cases APS can affect the heart valves.
Intermittent claudication. This is a feeling of pain or discomfort, in the leg muscles, often when climbing a slope or steps.
Metatarsal bone fracture. The lack of blood supply to the feet can cause bones to weaken and break spontaneously.
Angina of the gut. This is caused by the digestive system not having enough oxygen to do its job.
This is a very long list, but it is important to repeat that you must not panic. You may never experience any of these symptoms. However, it is important to know them and to report them to your doctor if you do.
With treatment, most of these symptoms may either disappear or improve to the extent that they become easier to live with.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.