Will Cold Agglutinin Disease Affect My Life Expectancy?
Learning that you have a rare disorder like cold agglutinin disease (CAD) can be frightening. Among the first questions many people have is: How will my lifespan be affected?
Unfortunately, the answer often isn’t clear-cut.
What is life expectancy?
Life expectancy is an estimate of how long people will live. It is based on their date of birth, where they live, their gender, and a number of other environmental and genetic factors. It does not refer to individuals, but to a population as a whole.
For patient populations with rare diseases like CAD, doctors can make estimates, but these are rough estimates because the number of known cases is very small.
How does CAD affect life expectancy?
Life expectancy for people with CAD depends on many factors, such as the severity of their condition, the symptoms they experience, and the underlying cause of their disease.
Patients who develop CAD as a result of infection usually respond well to treatment, and often their symptoms stop within about six months after the infection has been treated.
Patients who develop CAD as a result of HIV infection or cancer generally have a poorer prognosis because of the underlying condition, rather than CAD itself.
For patients with primary CAD (or CAD of unknown cause), life expectancy is usually normal if efforts are made to limit exposure to cold. However, crises caused by cold can be very damaging and, for some patients, lead to problems like those of the heart that impact life expectancy.
What can I do to improve my lifespan?
The most important thing you can do as someone with CAD to protect your health is to avoid cold exposure. Cold temperatures cause red blood cells to aggregate or clump together, and this can be very dangerous for your health.
It is also important to avoid infection as much as possible. Wash your hands after touching people or animals, cleaning the house or other spaces, and before eating. Proper wound care is also crucial in avoiding infection.
Last updated: Oct. 30, 2019
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