In the News
Vascular Health Clinics is always striving to educate the public about vascular disease. Read what has been said about us or what we have had to say about vascular health.
Call to request an appointment or to refer a patient:
Factor V: Gaining perspective on blood protein deficiencies
Omar P. Haqqani, MD
Midland Daily News
January 29, 2017
There are numerous reasons for why patients may develop a conditions causing abnormal blood clotting – increasing age, family history, previous conditions, etc. However, among the reasons that tend to be lesser known to most, is a disorder known as Factor V Leiden – a gene mutation causing an increased tendency for abnormal blood clotting.
For those unaware, Factor V is a protein, mostly comprised by cells found in the liver. Factor V’s job is to circulate throughout the bloodstream, standing by to be called upon when injury to the blood vessels occurs.
When this happens, Factor V interacts with another coagulation and clotting element called Factor X to help prevent blood from clotting.
Those who have a deficiency or abnormality of Factor V, however, have a higher risk of developing blood clots because there is unopposed action of Factor X to form a clot. This clot may form deep vein thrombosis where clotting occurs in a deep vein system.
Because Factor V Leiden makes it more difficult for Factor V to be broken up by anti-clotting proteins, Factor V stays in the blood for longer than needed, and increases unnecessary clotting.
Because of this, those who have a Factor V deficiency or abnormality may not know the mutation exists until a deep vein thrombosis occurs, as the deficiency carries no known prior symptoms.
However, there are a number of risk factors to consider when relating the Factor V Leiden mutation to the development of other conditions.
For instance, those who smoke, take hormonal contraception, or have suffered from complications due to recent surgery, are at an increased risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis if they also possess the Factor V Leiden mutation.
Furthermore, though clotting most often occurs in the form of a specific condition, it should also be known that Factor V Leiden increases the risk of general clotting in the body.
With the national odds of developing a blood clot currently at 1 in 1,000, a Factor V Leiden increases those odds to at least 4 in 1,000, and as high as 8 in 1,000.
Factor V deficiency or abnormalities are usually inherited and run in families. Patients may possess one or two abnormal genes that were inherited from both parents.
If one gene is abnormal, then the condition may be mild. However, if both genes are abnormal, then the clotting disorders may be far more pronounced.
Some telling signs of conditions linked to a Factor V deficiency, in addition to deep vein thrombosis, are superficial venous thrombosis (clots forming closer to the skin) or a pulmonary embolism (a clot that travels and dislodges in the lung). Nearly 30% of people that suffer from deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism have this mutation.
Because these conditions most often come without warning, it is important to recognize any signs of irregular clot formation that may occur.
For example, chest pain or discomfort could be the result of a pulmonary embolism, and pain or swelling in the leg could be a symptom of a deep vein thrombosis.
Furthermore, when consulting with your doctor or vascular specialist, you should make them aware if a history of irregular blood clotting runs in your family, or if any relatives have a Factor V Leiden.
The deficiency of this gene, also referred to as Owren disease, is synonymous with both genders, though women tend to develop blood clots from pregnancy or the intake of estrogen, making them more susceptible to the mutation.
Factor V Leiden is also predominantly found in North American Caucasians, with 5 percent of this group possessing the mutation, though it can also be found in Latin Americans and African-Americans, though less commonly.
To help fend off irregular blood clotting brought on by Factor V Leiden, anticoagulant medications can be utilized, helping to avoid life-threatening complications. Lifelong anticoagulation for patients with both inherited gene mutations are usually recommended.
However, in order to get the full picture on how Factor V Leiden can impact a vascular lifestyle, as well as how the development of irregular blood clotting conditions can be controlled, consult your medical doctor or vascular specialist for more information.
Though possessing a Factor V Leiden mutation can increase the risk of developing a blood clot, its existence only makes it all the more important to stay alert of other conditions that can arise as a result.
Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, M.D., is the chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics in Midland.
Can we improve this page?