If you are diagnosed with cold agglutinin disease (CAD), it is important to see a multidisciplinary treatment team of healthcare professionals, in addition to your primary care physician, to make sure that you are receiving the best possible care.
In CAD, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks red blood cells in cold temperatures. Other health issues such as an infection, another autoimmune disease, or cancer also may lead to CAD in some cases.
Seeing specialists knowledgeable about the symptoms of CAD may help you to better manage your treatment.
The main specialist on your treatment team likely will be a hematologist. These physicians specialize in the treatment of blood disorders like CAD.
A hematologist can work with your primary care physician to devise a monitoring plan to ensure that your red blood cell levels and immune cells are staying in acceptable ranges.
CAD is caused by the overactivity of the immune system. An immunologist is familiar with disorders involving this system and how to treat them. Other factors, such as another autoimmune disease, like lupus, can sometimes be the cause of CAD; this is known as secondary CAD. Oftentimes an immunologist will be able to suggest treatment options to diagnose and deal with other autoimmune diseases that you may have.
Clots forming in the blood vessels that feed CAD can cause heart damage in patients. They also can cause the blood to become thicker, making the heart work harder to pump it throughout the body. A cardiologist can help diagnose and treat any heart problems. These may include irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias, enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, and potential heart failure.
In rare cases, secondary CAD can be caused by some forms of cancer. If you receive a diagnosis of CAD, it is important to see an oncologist to make sure that you do not have cancer.
A nutritionist may be able to help you plan an anti-inflammatory diet that might help alleviate some symptoms of CAD. So, having a nutritionist on your treatment team could improve your overall health.
Living with a chronic rare disease such as CAD can be stressful, and may lead to anxiety and depression. Changes in your lifestyle to avoid cold conditions may eliminate some activities that you used to enjoy. Having to be constantly careful of infections also can be stressful.
Consulting with a psychologist can help you process and learn to cope with any anxiety and feelings of loss.
Last updated: Jan. 14, 2021
Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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