COLD AGGLUTININ DISEASE - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms


Cold agglutinin disease or CAD is a type of condition in which your antibodies strike the red blood cells and ruin them. It is stimulated by cold climates, and it can cause issues that vary from drowsiness to heart issues. This type of disease is more common among people ages 60 and above, and females are more at risk in getting it than males. 

Cold agglutinin disease can be the main or subordinate root of an underlying problem including cancers or infections.

How does it occur?

When you inhale, your red blood cells conveys oxygen out of your lungs to the entire body. Then they convey carbon dioxide away to your lungs for you to exhale. A usual red blood cell stays at least 100 to 120 days. The antibodies create proteins that aid in preventing infections. Most of these are known as the cold agglutinins since they’re released when your temperature level is beneath normal.

In cold agglutinin disease, the immunizers connect themselves to red blood cells rather than viruses and in the end destroy the RBC or red blood cells. And when it happens, it can lead to anemia, which is when your body does not have enough red blood cells.


The symptoms of cold agglutinin disease includes the following:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Painful joints
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Chest discomfort and pain
  • Cold hands and feet

In some women, this disease occasionally stops them from having menstruation. The symptoms may be severe in cold weather. 


Diagnosis of cold agglutinin disease starts from:

  • Blood testing. A blood test can detect the range of your red blood cells if it is in a normal amount or not.
  • Physical exam

The doctor may request for another blood test known as direct antiglobulin to identify your symptoms well. Your doctor may need to check also your other organs in the body if they are normal or enlarging.


The treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are and if the disease occurs by itself or because of other underlying diseases. 

If your doctor detects another underlying issue that can be caused by CAD, then your doctor may treat it first and wait if it improves your symptoms. 

If you experience symptoms that are mild, you may not require treatment, instead you’ll need to avoid the issues by staying warm.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Iritis, otherwise known as anterior uveitis, is the swelling and inflammation [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts The vestibulo-ocular or VOR reflex utilizes information from the inner ear’s [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts A urinalysis is a laboratory test for urine. It manages and [...]