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Cold Agglutinin Disease

Cold Agglutinin Disease Causes

The cause of cold agglutinin disease is unknown or idiopathic.

Cold Agglutinin Disease Definition

Cold agglutinin disease is a form of hemolytic anemia, wherein there is a decrease in the levels of red blood cells caused by malfunction of the body's immune system. The body mistakenly creates antibodies that destroy healthy red blood cells during cold temperatures. Red blood cells normally have a 120-day lifespan before being disposed by the body's spleen; however, in people with the disease, they are prematurely destroyed and production in bone marrow can't compensate for the loss.

Cold Agglutinin Disease Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made through complete blood count, Direct Coombs test, and bedside cold agglutinin test.

Cold Agglutinin Disease Symptoms and Signs

The disorder may manifest different signs including anemia due to low red blood cell level; fatigue; jaundice with persistent yellow skin, eyes, and mucous membrane; and/or coldness and sweating of toes and fingers with reddish or bluish skin discoloration. The uncommon feature of the disease is that during normal temperature of the body, hemolysis doesn't happen, but rather, just at low temperatures.

Cold Agglutinin Disease Treatment

Conventional treatments can help alleviate its symptoms, but don't actually address the cause of its problem. Prevent being exposed to cold temperatures. Severe cases can require Chlorambucil or other similar drugs. High dosage of interferon or intravenous immunoglobulin might help several severe cases.

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