Cold Agglutinin Disease

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Cold agglutinin disease (CAD) is a rare form of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. In this condition, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the body’s own red blood cells. This causes the blood cells to die prematurely (hemolysis). Symptoms may include pallor and fatigue; back and leg pain; headache; vomiting; diarrhea; and dark urine. CAD gets its name from the fact that the antibodies react at temperatures below 37ºC, so a cold environment may trigger the condition or make it worse. It can be primary (idiopathic) or secondary, due to an underlying condition such as an infection, another autoimmune disease, or certain cancers. Treatment often involves avoidance of cold temperatures.Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.

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