Cryoglobulinemia is a type of vasculitis. Vasculitis is a condition in which the blood vessels are inflamed. The inflammation of the blood vessels causes blood flow to be restricted. As a result, there is pain and tissue damage at the site of the affected organ or body part.
This type of vasculitis is strongly associated with hepatitis C and intravenous drug use, which affect the liver and, possibly, the kidneys. Ninety percent of cryoglobulinemia cases correspond to hepatitis C infections.
The best course of treatment for cryoglobulinemia is not known. Doctors will generally treat the underlying hepatitis C infection first. If the symptoms of vasculitis do not lessen, it may respond to oral prednisone or cyclophosphamide, a type of drug that suppresses the immune system.