This page touches on similarities and differences of:

Raynaud’s Disease

Cold Agglutinin Disease

RAYNAUD’s DISEASE is a condition that causes some parts of the body to become numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress.  Visual symptoms are various skin discoloring ranges.  Splotches, red to dark colored skin, etc.

Without clinical testing, Raynauld’s is often confused with Cold Agglutinin Disease or vice versa.

While some of the symptoms are similar, their cause/triggers are totally different.  Raynaud’s and CAD (Cold Agglutinin Disease) are not the same thing.

It takes specific testing to confirm either.  If you have an old diagnosis from many years ago based on observation only.   It would benefit you to seek out the latest clinical testing.  To confirm you actually have Raynaud’s or CAD.

The most common area affected are the extremities such as fingers and toes.

In Raynaud’s Disease, the body incorrectly limits blood flow to smaller arteries/blood vessels (Vasospasm).  A mechanical blood vessel reaction. This is not a CAD response which is a blood disorder.

Vasospasm refers to the sudden contraction of the muscular walls of an artery.  A mechanical type of reaction.  The contraction causes the artery to narrow and reduce the flow of blood.

To summarize:

Raynaud’s is totally different from Cold Agglutinin Disease.  Though either/or is often assumed.  Often confused.  Often an incorrect diagnosis from some years ago.

Its possible some patients may have both?

Raynauds Disease is the body reducing blood flow via restricting the size of the blood vessels due to the cold, or even stress.  Raynaud’s Disease is confirmed using various blood tests, and possibly a test called Nail Fold Capillaroscopy.

Since Raynauds symptoms are caused by a vascular constriction, it does not create hemolysis.  There is no associated anemia or lowered Hgb.

Pharmaceuticals (Vascular Dilators) are sometimes prescribed as treatment.

Cold Agglutinin Disease causes Red Blood Cells to clump together when affected by the cold.  An Autoimmune blood disease in which antibodies are incorrectly triggered by cold.  To attack and destroy Red Blood Cell they incorrectly perceive as a foreign threat.

Then these clumped Red Cells temporarily block the flow of blood in smaller blood vessels that might otherwise be perfectly normal in size.  This is due to the fact blood vessels naturally get smaller in the extremities.

Cold Agglutinin Disease is confirmed using various tests.  Including blood tests, bone marrow biopsy, and others.

Cold Agglutinin Disease often results in visual physical symptoms in the extremities that appear the same or similar to Raynauds.  In Cold Agglutinin Disease, when this clumping is occurring (Agglutination), the Red Blood Cells are also being destroyed (Hemolysis).  Which can lead to anemic conditions, or lowered Hgb.   Which in turn elevates the patients Retic Function to levels often above normal, or the high range of normal.

Acrocyanosis is another term and condition that has surfaced lately.  A vascular disorder verses a blood disorder.  Pharmaceuticals (vascular dilators) are sometimes prescribed as treatment.  But often ineffective.

More similar to Raynaud’s, rather than to Cold Aggglutinin Disease.

Typically unrelated to both Raynaud’s and Cold Agglutinin Disease.  If it were to be related or coexist.  One or the other, may be considered “Secondary”?

This is a condition that can also cause abnormal discoloration of the extremities, when a patient is exposed to cooler/cold temperatures.  Unlike Raynaud’s in which the discoloration can often be quickly reversed by warming.  Discoloration due to Acrocyanosis may persist for extended periods even when a person is adequately warm.

Not much is known about this condition, at this time.  It is another rare disorder.

Some research indicates it can be “Primary”, or “Secondary” caused by other know diseases, or disorders.

This condition can be transient.  But can be present winter or summer.  Typically there is no associated pain.  Patients are normally asymptomatic aside from discoloration.

Acrocyanosis typically does not trigger any Anemia or excessive Hemolysis.  Both (Acrocyanosis & Raynaud’s), differ in this regard, from Cold Agglutinin Disease.  In which abnormal Hemolysis is triggered to some degree with CAD.

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