Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) is believed to be due to immune cells, cells which normally protect the body from foreign infection, but here begin incorrectly attacking the nerves in the body instead. As a result, the affected nerves fail to respond, or respond only weakly. The likelihood of progression of the disease is high.
Autoimmune Diseases like CIDP appear like an invisible disease hidden within the body and people get the impression that the person is healthy. It can be progressive and symptoms can gradually increase over a period of many years and it may be difficult to identify `better' or `worse' times. In a relapse new symptoms can occur or old symptoms may reappear or get worse. Relapses can last for several months and may be relatively slight or quite severe. A remission occurs when the symptoms experienced during the relapse disappear partially or completely weeks, months or even years.
In CIDP, patients usually have a history of weakness and numbness in the extremities, tingling, pain, progressive muscle weakness, loss of deep tendon reflexes (areflexia), fatigue, abnormal sensations and difficulty in walking, have difficulty climbing stairs and use their hands to pull themselves upstairs. Some patients may have a sudden onset of back or neck pain radiating down the extremities. This pain is usually diagnosed as radicular pain (radiating pain or going down). The symptoms of CIDP are usually progressive and may come and go.
Patients also may present with a single cranial nerve or peripheral nerve dysfunction. For example, double vision, loss of hearing, ringing in the ear, face dropping on one side, hoarseness, facial pain.. They may present with abdominal pains, fainting spells while standing up. Burning pain in extremities.
It is not possible to predict with certainty how CIDP is going to affect an individual . The pattern of relapses and remissions varies greatly from person to person. A period of relapse can be very disturbing but many patients make a good recovery. Coping with uncertainty is the most difficult aspect of 'living with CIDP'.
Because of the rarity of the illness, many doctors will not have encountered it before. The symptoms are difficult to describe and may not be taken seriously at first. Each case of CIDP is different, and relapses, if they occur, may bring new symptoms and problems. Because of the variability in severity and progression of the disease, it s hard for some doctors to give you a definite prognosis.It is important to build a good relationship with your doctors, both primary care and specialist.
There are different ways to treat CIDP such as inmune suppresant medicines (Cellcept and others), prednisone, IVIG (inmune globulin) and plasmapheresis. Cure is unknown.
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Adequate rest periods are essential to avoid fatigue. Learn how to manage your pain. Stress and tension may irritate the symptoms of CIDP.