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London Bridge Hospital marks Hughes Syndrome Awareness Month

Known as Antiphospholipid or 'sticky bloody' syndrome, Hughes Syndrome is caused by an over-activity of the immune system, which affects the blood's ability to clot. Discovered by Professor Graham Hughes just over 30 years ago, the disease affects any vein, artery or organ in the body and the consequences can include potentially fatal conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and DVT - research reveals that it contributes to approximately 1 in 5 young strokes (under the age of 40), and 1 in 5 young heart attacks.

The antibodies responsible for the disorder can also affect the blood suppy of the placenta in pregnancy, leading to recurrent pre-eclampsia, miscarriages, small babies, early deliveries and stillbirth. Undiagnosed Hughes Syndrome is responsible for 20% of recurrent miscarriages, making early and accurate diagnosis of the disorder crucial. Recognised as the most common, treatable cause of recurrent miscarriages, awareness of the symptoms of Hughes Syndrome is crucial to prevention.

People of all ages, including children, can suffer from Hughes Syndrome, but it mainly affects 20-50 year olds and women far more so than men, (for every two men with Hughes Syndrome, there are seven men affected).

Key symptoms:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Migraines
  • Memory loss
  • Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or 'mini-strokes'
  • Balance problems

Professor Hughes comments: "Although treatment for Hughes Syndrome is simple and inexpensive, the lack of awareness surrounding the dieases means people just aren't being screened for it. Patient are commonly misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) because of the memory loss and muscle weakness - yet unlike these debilitating treatments, medication for Hughes Syndrome can be as simple as a daily aspirin intake, and be effective immediately.

"Although 3 million people are affected by the disease, GPs still don't refer patients for testing until they have had 3 recurrent miscarriages. In order to improve diagnosis rates, we need to target both the public and GP's awareness of the symptoms - GPs should be asking their patients 3 simple questions as an initial screening: 1) Do you have a family history of autoimmune disease, such as Hughes, thyroid problems, or Lupus? 2) Do you suffer from migraines? 3) Have you ever had DVT?

"If patients then score positively, they should be referred for screening immediately. To improve accurate diagnoses, both the public and GPs need to be aware of the symptoms and their risk factors," Professor Hughes concludes.

For more information on the symptoms and treatments of Hughes Syndrome, please visit
www.hughes-syndrome.org or call Emily Mayer, Marketing Coordinator on 020 7234 24630