What Does It Mean If Lupus Anticoagulant Is Positive?

Reviewed on 3/28/2022
Illustration of red blood cells
When the lupus anticoagulant is positive, people with lupus have a 50/50 chance of experiencing a blood clot in 20 years' time.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues, causing inflammation and pain, commonly in the skin, joints, and internal organs such as the heart and kidneys, though it can affect any part of the body. 

The different types of lupus include: 

One test used to diagnose lupus is a blood test for antiphospholipid antibodies (lupus anticoagulant [LA], immunoglobulin [Ig] G and IgM anticardiolipin [aCL] antibodies, and IgG and IgM anti-beta2-glycoprotein [GP] 1). About half of all people with lupus have these antibodies. One of these antibodies is the lupus anticoagulant. If the lupus anticoagulant is positive, over a 20-year period of time, half of these patients will experience a blood clot

Other tests used to help diagnose lupus or rule out other conditions include:

What Are Symptoms of Lupus?

Symptoms of lupus include:

  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Joint pain or swelling 
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or around the eyes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Chest pain when inhaling deeply caused by inflammation in the lining of the lungs
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose 
  • Raised red patches on the skin
  • Sores in the mouth or nose
  • Arthritis in two or more joints, plus swelling or tenderness
  • Seizures or other nerve problems
  • Hair loss
  • Fingers and toes turning white or blue and feeling numb when exposed to cold or stress (Raynaud’s disease)
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Skin lesions
  • Blood clots, which can lead to stroke or seizures
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Neurologic and psychiatric problems
  • Blood abnormalities 
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Eye problems
  • Excess protein in the urine

What Is the Treatment for Lupus?

Lupus is usually treated with medications to help manage symptoms, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatories and steroids 
  • Antimalarials (to help protect skin from rashes and UV light)
  • Biologics 
  • Immunosuppressives 
  • Anticoagulants 

Home treatment that may help patients manage symptoms of lupus include:

Reviewed on 3/28/2022
Image Source: iStock Images