The medical world agrees that ‘cold’ causes Cryoglobulins to precipitate within our blood. They also agree that ‘warmth’ enables that precipitate to redissolve. They also agree that Cryo precipitation thickens ones blood and that the precipitate likes to clump together. In the world of pipes and flow, thicker fluids travel more slowly than thinner ones for the same size bore. And muck in fluids tend to coat the pipe inner wall, reducing bore but in the case of our vascular system also denying contact twixt vein inner wall and the blood that helps keep it healthy. Cryoglobulins are not only inclined to clump together but are also ideally shaped for getting snagged somewhere. In the world of our bodies, Cryoprecipitate thickened blood means reduced oxygen-carrying ability. So physically and mentally tired, aches and pains after a cold exposure wouldn’t be a surprise. Nor would mood swings. Or unusual panting after minimal exercise. But while that precipitate is in our system it may be doing other damage. Our vascular system contains some very narrow pipework, very easily blocked. If those Cryoglobulins are loose in our bloodstream, who knows where they might do damage. In defence of cold, the veins in our extremities and skin constrict, further causing problems for thicker than normal blood flow. A short sharp nasty cold exposure can floor me in seconds but it’ll take a day or two of staying comfy warm and avoiding further cold exposure to recover. On that basis, with the demands of daily life it is easy to accumulate a growing presence of undissolved Cryo precipitation which only needs a little more precipitation before something gives. With me that would usually be unconsciousness. So ‘staying warm’ really means either no precipitation going on or that recovery from a previous cold exposure is happening by giving those Cryos a chance to dissolve back into the blood and become harmless again. ‘Cold’ can be as subtle as obvious and is a 24/7 for but the thought of what that precipitate could be doing keeps my motivation high for avoiding cold exposure. Layers and all the rest of the clobber and tricks may be a chore and inconvenient at times but cold exposure means Cryo precipitation and illness. Prevention isn’t infallible but it keeps me well most of the time and holing up for long enough always restores me should prevention fail. Stay warm stay well, get cold get ill is how it works for me. Fitting a life around that is the really tricky bit! Does Cryo thickened blood really carry less oxygen? I decided to test this with a blood oxygen saturation meter. The kind that fit on a fingertip. Lowest reading so far during a particularly awful reaction to cold is under 84% Normally I’m 97- 99%. Stay warm!
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Eileen M. Propp, Ph.D. CoFounder
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