Cryoglobulins are abnormal proteins in the blood. If you have cryoglobulinemia (kri-oh-glob-u-lih-NE-me-uh), these cryoglobulins clump together, causing the plasma to become thick like maple syrup and deposit clumps in blood vessels. This limits blood flow, increasing the risk of blood clots, blocked arteries, and damage to your skin, joints, muscles, nerves, kidneys and liver. The course of the disease will vary, depending on the severity. Symptoms may come and go. For some people, cold temperatures may cause flare-ups.

The cause of cryoglobulinemia is not known, but it may be associated with other diseases, such as liver disease, infection, connective tissue disease, multiple myeloma or lymphoma, or hepatitis C virus infection. Cryoglobulinemia may be an autoimmune disorder.

Nov. 19, 2012

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