Diagnosis

Diagnosis of cryoglobulinemia involves a blood test in which the sample must be kept at normal body temperature, 98.6 F (37 C), for a period of time before being cooled. Inaccurate test results can occur if the blood sample isn't handled properly.

Treatment

Depending on the underlying cause of cryoglobulinemia, treatment may include medications that suppress the immune system or fight viral infections. For severe symptoms, your doctor may also recommend a procedure that exchanges your blood plasma, which contains much of the cryoglobulins, for donor plasma or a replacement fluid.

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you have cryoglobulinemia, it's important to avoid exposure to cold — especially to your fingers and toes. You may want to use gloves when using the freezer or refrigerator. Check your feet daily for any injuries, because cryoglobulinemia can make it more difficult for foot injuries to heal.

Preparing for your appointment

You may start by seeing your primary care provider. Or you may be referred immediately to a specialist in blood disorders (hematologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For cryoglobulinemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

Avoid doing anything that seems to worsen your signs and symptoms.

Cryoglobulinemia care at Mayo Clinic

Dec. 20, 2019
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