Cryoglobulins which make up Cryoglobulinemia are abnormal proteins (antibodies) in the blood. These proteins clump together in the cold. This causes the plasma to become thick like maple syrup and deposit clumps in blood vessels.
Cryoglobulinemia is part of a group of diseases that cause damage and inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body (vasculitis).
More than 90% of cases of cryoglobulinemic vasculitis are associated with hepatitis C infections.