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A 70-year-old woman broke out in a giant spotty purple rash due to a rare blood disease caused by ice cold weather

Retired, 70, breaks out in a spotty purple rash all over her body after freezing temperatures caused a rare blood disorder

  • Patient, 70, broke out in spinal rash all over the body and felt dizzy for a week
  • Tests showed that she had a cold agglutinin disease and that the body was low in oxygen
  • The rare condition sees the immune system mistakenly attacking red blood cells
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An older woman broke out in a spotty purple rash because of a rare blood disease caused by ice cold weather.

The 70-year-old from New York went to the doctor after feeling dizzy for a week and developing the rash all over her body.

Doctors diagnosed her with liveso reticularis, a skin condition caused by spasms of the blood vessels and poor circulation around the surface of the skin.

A 70-year-old woman broke out in a giant spotty purple rash due to a rare blood disease caused by ice cold weather

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A 70-year-old woman broke out in a giant spotty purple rash due to a rare blood disease caused by ice cold weather

However, doctors at the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, wanted to find the underlying cause and took blood samples.

The red colors of the doctors were normally shocked when they noticed that the blood of the unnamed pensioner was almost clear.

Her red blood cells, which carry oxygen, had stuck to each other and became lumpy.

Laboratory results showed that the woman suffered from a cold agglutinin disease.

Doctors were shocked when the patient's blood was clear (left). They treated her by heating the blood (right)

Doctors were shocked when the patient's blood was clear (left). They treated her by heating the blood (right)

Doctors were shocked when the patient's blood was clear (left). They treated her by heating the blood (right)

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Normally, certain proteins seek and destroy pathogens invading the blood, including viruses and bacteria.

But the condition, which affects an estimated one in 50,000 people, causes them to attach to red blood cells and bind them together in clumps.

This ultimately causes red blood cells to be destroyed and people deprived of oxygen in their blood, leading to anemia.

The medical team said the condition was caused by the -9C (15F) temperatures in the native New York state of the woman.

The patient also revealed that she had a viral infection two weeks before the outbreak, which may have aggravated the condition.

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Cold agglutinin disease is normally caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection, another autoimmune disease, or certain cancers.

Doctors do not know why it sometimes occurs in patients who show no other symptoms.

But cold temperatures can overdrive the immune system, which doctors say can spur the condition.

The patient was kept in the hospital for a week, where she was kept warm and had blood transfusions.

After the treatment, her ratio of red blood cells to total blood volume more than doubled.

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Her anemia and dizziness disappeared within the week, but doctors still said she was relieved when she was released from the hospital.

The Bassett Medical Center team revealed the story in the New England Journal of Medicine.

WHAT IS COLD AGGLUTININE COLD SICKNESS?

The condition, which affects an estimated one in 50,000 people, causes the immune system to attack its own red blood cells incorrectly.

Cold agglutinin disease is normally caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection, another autoimmune disease, or certain cancers.

Doctors do not know why it sometimes occurs in patients who show no other symptoms.

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But cold temperatures can overdrive the immune system, which doctors say can spur the condition.

When the blood of affected people is exposed to cold temperatures, certain proteins that normally attack bacteria attach to red blood cells and bind them together into clumps.

This ultimately causes red blood cells to be destroyed and people deprived of oxygen, leading to anemia.

Anemia is a condition where you do not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport enough oxygen to the tissues of your body.

Symptoms of cold agglutinin disease (CAD) are often caused or exacerbated by cold temperatures or a viral infection.

Therefore, the symptoms are generally worse during the winter months. Symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually.

The number of symptoms and the severity of the symptoms can depend on how severe the anemia is. They may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • headache
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale skin
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice
  • Chestpain
  • Pain in the back or legs
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), a heart murmur, an enlarged heart or heart failure

Heart problems can occur because the heart has to work harder to ensure that the body gets enough healthy red blood cells.

Many people with CAD also experience pain and bluish coloring of the hands and feet.

These symptoms are the result of slow or poor circulation and can range from mild to invalidating.

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