What is a Factor V Leiden?
Factor V Leiden is an inherited disease. Factor V Leiden is a type of blood clotting disorder, which is a mutation of Factor V Protein. Sudden alternations in the protein Factor V increases the possibility of developing abnormal blood clots especially in the veins. Majority of people suffering from Factor V Leiden do not face abnormal clotting problem, but people who develop clot also face various health issues including some life threatening ones.
Men and women both are equally prone to Factor V Leiden. People suffering from Factor V Leiden are often prescribed anticoagulant medications to lower the risk of development of extra blood clots.
Blood clot helps in stopping excess flow of blood when there is any damage in the vein or artery. Blood clot forms as a result of reaction that takes place between blood platelets and protein present in blood cells.
How Rare is Factor V Leiden?
Possibility of having Factor V Leiden is very common among people, but only 10% of them experience abnormal blood clotting. Hence, as compared to other hereditary disorders, this is rarely found in individuals.
What is Heterozygous Factor V Leiden Mutation?
As discussed above Factor V Leiden is a disorder causing abnormal blood clotting and it is a hereditary disease. People who receive one copy of defective gene from their parent are known as heterozygous. On the contrary, the people inheriting two copies of defective genes are known as homozygous. Research has proven the fact that people with heterozygous Factor V Leiden mutation 3 to 8 times more prone to develop venous thromboembolism and people with homozygous mutation have 50 to 80 times more risk of thrombosis.
What is Factor V Deficiency?
Factor V is an essential component of blood, deficiency of this can cause bleeding disorder. Deficiency of Factor V is also known as Owren disease, because Dr. Owren was the one who first identified this issue in the year 1943. Factor V deficiency leads to slow down the process of blood clotting after injury, which ultimately leads to excess blood loss from the body and can lead to death. There are high possibilities that Factor V Deficiency and Factor Vlll Deficiency cause at the same time creating serious blood clotting issues. However, the medical science considers them as two different disorders.
Causes of Factor V Leiden
Factor V is a clotting protein and the anti-clotting proteins present in the body break Factor V, which leads to formation of clots when clotting is not even required. Factor V Leiden makes it very difficult for anti-proteins to breakdown Factor V. This way Factor V remains for longer in blood and also the possibility of clot formation increase considerably.
People with Factor V Leiden, either inherit one copy of defective gene from one parent or in some rare cases inherit two copies (one from each parent) of defective genes. People with one copy of defective gene become slightly prone to develop blood clots, but people with two copies have high risk of developing abnormal blood clots.
Symptoms of Factor V Leiden
Development of blood clots is the first and the most significant symptom of Factor V Leiden. Some clots are not harmful as they appear and then disappear on their own. On the contrary, some clots are very dangerous and can be serious. Symptoms of blood clots depends on where it is developed and whether it travels or not.
- Factor V Leiden blood clots in deep vein. This is known as DVT i.e., deep vein thrombosis. As such there are no symptoms of DVT, but in case some signs appear then it is commonly seen in the feet, ankles and whole leg.
- Factor V Leiden blood clots forming closer to the skin surface. Symptoms includes redness on skin, pain around blood veins and warmth.
- Factor V Leiden blood clots that travel to lungs. It is commonly known as pulmonary embolism. This disorder occurs when clot in the deep vein breaks and travel to right side of the heart and ultimately blocks the smooth blood flow. Symptoms include breathlessness, frequent cough, chest pain and increase heartbeat.
Tests to Diagnose Factor V Leiden
Doctors primarily suspect Factor V Leiden if patient has either suffered multiple instances of miscarriage or have a strong family history of thrombotic disease. Doctors prescribe blood test for diagnosis of this deadly disease. Two types of blood tests are prescribed.
- APC test is used to diagnose Factor V Leiden. Activated protein C resistance test is one of the anti-clotting proteins that assist in controlling Factor V. This test is performed to know whether the blood of patient is resistant to this protein or not. People who have resistant to this protein are highly for one to face mutation in Factor V gene.
- Genetic test for diagnosing Factor V Leiden is done to identify whether the patient has Factor V gene mutation or not. This test also confirms whether the person has inherited one or two copies of defective genes.
For people who are on blood-thinning medications are only prescribed to go for genetic test as blood-thinning medications obstructs the accurate result of APC i.e., activated protein C resistance test. These tests are not recommended to new born child, instead; it is only prescribed to adults.
Treatment for Factor V Leiden
People suffering from this blood clotting disease of Factor V Leiden are often prescribed to have blood thinning medication such as heparin, warfarin and so on. If genetic test prove that you have Factor V Leiden that does not lead to formation of blood clots then doctors may not advice blood thinning medication on regular basis, but will advice a particular dosage to prevent DVT.
Diet for Factor V Leiden
People suffering from Factor V Leiden should include more of the food that helps in blood thinning. Food high in Salicylates should be included in diet as it blocks the receptors of vitamin K and add in blood thinning.
Home Remedies for Factor V Leiden
Intake of healthy balanced diet and exercising regularly help in maintaining proper blood flow in the body and prevent blood clotting and is the best home remedy for Factor V Leiden.
Person suffering from this disease should avoid to be in a particular position (either sitting or standing) for longer period of time as it hinders blood circulation. They should also avoid food that contributes in blood clotting.
Recovery Period/Healing Time for Factor V Leiden
There is no pre-defined recovery period or healing time for Factor V Leiden because this blood disorder occurs because of presence of defective genes in the body. The only thing one can do is to take few preventive measures for blood clotting and should be on proper medication.
Prevention of Factor V Leiden
As Factor V Leiden is a genetically transferred disorder, hence there is no effective prevention measure for the same. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking balance diet can control the problem to some extent.
Risk Factors for Factor V Leiden
Factor V Leiden a hereditary disorder, so people who have a family history of Factor V Leiden are at high risk of inheriting the disorder. White people of European descent are more prone to inherit this problem.
Can you Give Blood if You Have Factor V Leiden?
Yes, the people suffering from Factor V Leiden or from any other type of thrombophilia can easily donate their blood plasma or platelets. However, if the person affected with Factor V Leiden is on warfarin (anticoagulant medications) then in this situation doctors do not advice to donate blood, as it can create complications for blood receiver.
Complications of Factor V Leiden
There are various complications associated with Factor V Leiden. Some of the common complications are:
- Majority of women with Factor V Leiden undergoes normal child delivery, but in case of mutation the chance of miscarriage is very high. In addition, they also face other complications such as high blood pressure, sudden separation of placenta or even abnormal growth of the fetus. Women suffering from Factor V Leiden need to be under constant doctor's supervision.
- DVT is a complication of Factor V Leiden. People who are suffering from Factor V Leiden are highly prone to develop DVT i.e., Deep vein thrombosis.
- Pulmonary embolism is also a complication. One major complications, which is associated with DVT is that the clot breaks and starts traveling towards the lungs or at times to brain. This can be life threatening or fatal. One needs to keep a check on the symptoms of pulmonary embolism such as breathlessness or chest pain and should immediately consult a doctor if any of the symptoms are observed.
Prognosis/Outlook for Factor V Leiden
The prognosis or outlook for Factor V Leiden is good. Development of blood clot is the first indication that person is suffering from Factor V Leiden and when this clot develop near the surface of skin, it creates warmth, swelling and redness in that area.
Lifestyle Changes for Factor V Leiden
Some simple lifestyle changes can actually be very fruitful in preventing blood clots due to Factor V Leiden. They are as follows:
- Maintain proper body weight.
- Quitting smoking.
- Adopt active lifestyle.