APS Support UK
Sign up for e-news»   Donate now»   Join us »

The brain

The brain is particularly susceptible in APS patients and it can protest in a variety of ways including:

Headache and migraine

One of the most common features of APS is recurrent headaches – often migrainous and sometimes accompanied by flashing lights, zigzag patterns, nausea and vomiting.

Memory loss

Memory loss affects many people with APS, who often have difficulty in thinking clearly and describe the sensation as ‘brain fog’.

Balance problems

Balance problems and dizziness are very common in APS patients, and some people complain of a constant feeling of giddiness. Naturally, this is dangerous and can lead to accidents.

Seizures and spasms

Impaired circulation to parts of the brain can sometimes lead to seizures varying from epileptic seizures to jerks and spasms. A single fit or a series of epileptic seizures can occasionally be the first manifestation of APS and it is a subject that is being increasingly investigated.


This is the most serious neurological symptom associated with APS. Strokes develop when a blood clot (known medically as a thrombosis) blocks the supply of blood to the brain. Unfortunately, it is the first sign of the condition for 13% of people with APS.

Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)

These are ‘mini strokes’ in which a blood clot causes a temporary reduction, or blockage, of the blood supply to the brain. The symptoms of a TIA are similar to a stroke, but less severe and only last from between a few minutes to a few hours – hence ‘transient’ - and then completely disappear. TIAs are the first sign of APS in 7% of patients.

MS-like symptoms

A number of APS patients have bladder problems, tingling sensations, numbness and weakness in their limbs. Not surprisingly, these patients are occasionally wrongly diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis (MS).

© 2017 APS Support UK (trading name of the Hughes Syndrome Foundation). Registered Charity Number 1138116. A company limited by guarantee registered in England 7268671.