Cryoglobulinemia is characterized by clusters of cryoglobulins, abnormal antibody proteins in your blood, which form due to cold temperatures. Thickened plasma result due to these clumps which might also deposit in your blood vessels.
People above 50 are mostly affected by this condition. Symptoms are not evident in many cases. Symptoms, in moderate to severe cryoglobulinemia, include blocked arteries and damage to skin, joints, muscles, nerves, kidneys and liver.
Symptoms occur occasionally and may be precipitated by low temperatures. The exact cause of cryoglobulinemia is not clear. But several conditions, such as hepatitis C infection, multiple myeloma and autoimmune disease, are likely to contribute to the symptoms.
Cryoglobulin test: To detect presence of cryoglobulins
Your doctor can also recommend tests to check other diseases such as lymphoma and autoimmune disease as co-occurrence of these diseases can help your doctor pinpoint your condition.
The treatment of cryoglobulinemia is focused to:
Treating the cause of cryoglobulinemia, such as an infection
Prevent worsening of your condition
Avoid possible damages to organ
The type, underlying cause and severity of cryoglobulinemia are the determinants for your treatment approach. An in-depth evaluation of your situation is necessary if you don't experience any symptoms.
For mild to moderate symptoms, you may consider
avoiding cold temperatures.
Your doctor may prescribe you medications, to be used alone or in combination, to relieve your symptoms and prevent precipitation.
Corticosteroids are effective in treating in cryoglobulinemia. But using these medications for prolonged time can cause severe side effects, such as infection.
Suppress your immune system
Monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab, may be given either alone or in combination with steroids or chemotherapy.
Fight viral infections
If your cryoglobulinemia is caused due to hepatitis C, antivirals such as ribavirin can be prescribed.
Destroy cancer cells (Chemotherapy)
Low dose of chemotherapy can relieve mild to moderate symptoms while a combination of chemotherapy and plasmapheresis (exchanging your blood plasma with fluids) may be needed for severe symptoms.
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