Cryoglobulinemia : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms vary depending on the type of cryoglobulinemia and the organs that are affected. In general, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Purpura
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Skin death
  • Skin ulceration

Diagnosis & Tests

The doctor will perform a physical exam. There may be signs of liver and spleen swelling.

Tests for cryoglobulinemia include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Complement assay — numbers will be low
  • Cryoglobulin test — may show presence of cryoglobulins
  • Liver function tests — may be high
  • Rheumatoid factor — positive in types II and III
  • Skin biopsy
  • Urinalysis — may show blood in the urine if the kidneys are affected

Other tests may include:

  • Angiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • ESR
  • Hepatitis C test
  • Nerve conduction tests, if the person has weakness in the arms or legs
  • Protein electrophoresis – blood

Review Date : 1/12/2009
Reviewed By : Todd Gersten, M.D., Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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