The medical community acknowledges discrepancies between self-report and lab results when it come to Antiphospholipid Syndrome.
People who suffer from the auto-immune condition known as Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) are often misrepresented by clinical lab results. This is according to a new University of Michigan Medicine study titled Predictors and Interrelationship of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Antiphospholipid Syndrome: A Cross-Sectional Study. The research team asked APS sufferers to assess their condition and then compared these self-assessments with the clinical tests of each patient. A substantial number of patients considered their impairment much worse than the lab data they received indicated. Moreover, a quarter of the patients identified themselves as having ‘lower than-normal’ cognitive function due to their illness, which researchers have no explanation for.
The study brings to light a large gap in the existing clinical data and lab results on APS patients and their own personal experience with APS as well as their ability to live day to day with the disease. Not only did the study identify problems with higher than expected cognitive function impairment, but also higher rates of impaired physical function and a higher level of pain intensity. These realities shed light on just how difficult it is for APS patients to take on daily responsibilities.
Researchers do not completely understand the reasons for discrepancies in lab results, but some interesting correlations need to be better understood to provide better care for APS patients, and this makes further research warranted.
For now, researchers believe that there may be a connection between some of these unanticipated symptoms and modifiable lifestyle factors such as obesity and cigarette smoking (with unhealthy lifestyle choices leading to more severe symptoms). There was also a surprising correlation between taking medication for mental health issues and higher intensity of the symptoms reported. More studies need to be done concerning these correlations, and more patients need to be studied for researchers to gain a better understanding of the disconnect between clinical data and self-assessments of patients with APS.
Antiphospholipid Syndrome is sometimes known as Hughes Syndrome and is an immune system disorder. Patients who have this disease suffer from an increased risk of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and heart attack. As with other auto-immune disorders, APS causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissues instead of attacking outside infections and illnesses. Medical professionals believe that the causes of auto-immune diseases like APS are due to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors, but haven’t pinpointed exact causes in many cases. Definitive answers about what causes this condition are in short supply.
APS can be found in patients of all ages, but is more prevalent in women between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. Women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases than men, in general, and they are three to five times more likely to suffer from APS than their male counterparts. Doctors can have difficulty diagnosing APS because some of the symptoms are similar to those tied to multiple sclerosis (MS). Blood tests are the main tool for achieving diagnosis and, as of right now, there is no cure. However, APS can be managed if it is diagnosed correctly and treated with the latest medical procedures. That is why medical professionals are working overtime to assure that clinical results are more accurate.