Cryoglobulins are antibodies
. It is not yet known why they become solid or gel-like at low temperatures. When this occurs, these antibodies can cause inflammation and block blood vessels. This may lead to problems ranging from skin rashes to kidney failure.
Cryoglobulinemia is part of a group of diseases that cause damage and inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body (vasculitis). There are three main types of cryoglobulinemia. They are grouped based on the type of antibody
that is produced:
Types II and III are also referred to as mixed cryoglobulinemia.
Type I cryoglobulinemia is most often related to cancer of the blood or immune systems.
Types II and III are most often found in people who have a chronic (long-lasting) inflammatory condition, such as an autoimmune disease
or hepatitis C. Most people with this form of the disease have a chronic hepatitis C infection.
Other conditions that may be related to cryoglobulinemia include: