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3 Questions about Cold Agglutinin Disease

Brad’s Story: Living with Cold Agglutinin Disease

Jaime Morales Arias

3 Questions about Cold Agglutinin Disease with Jaime Morales Arias, Global Medical Lead, Cold Agglutinin Disease. 

1. What is cold agglutinin disease?

Cold agglutinin disease, or CAD, is a rare, chronic form of autoimmune hemolytic anemia in which part of the body’s immune system—called the complement system—mistakenly attacks a person’s own healthy red blood cells causing anemia and other problems. CAD occurs in an estimated 16 people per million, including an estimated 12,000 people in the U.S., Europe and Japan. 

2. What are the symptoms of CAD?

People with CAD suffer from chronic anemia, which causes symptoms such as paleness, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate. Patients may also experience severe, debilitating fatigue, dark urine and pain in the extremities. Retrospective analyses have also demonstrated other potential complications for CAD patients, including increased risk of early mortality and thromboembolic events, where a piece of a blood clot breaks loose and travels through the blood stream to block a blood vessel in another part of the body such as the lungs or brain.

3. How does CAD affect the daily life of patients?

Due to the chronic, debilitating fatigue, patients with CAD may experience poor quality of life. In addition, they require constant care from a hematologist to monitor their condition, which requires multiple doctor visits and in some cases hospitalizations. Patients with CAD have a risk of complications such as acute severe anemia crises and development of blood clots.


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