CIDP: A Rare Immune System Disease
Symptoms and Occurrence
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy is a immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system. It is believed that the condition is caused by immune cells attacking the exterior lining of nerve cells. This impedes the response of nerves in the body. In some cases, the nerve cells may not respond to signals from the brain at all. In other cases, response times may be slower. Symptoms of CIDP include feelings of numbness, tingling, pain, muscle weakness, tendon reflexes, fatigue, and abnormal sensations. This disease affects the motor and sensory nerves.
There are two types of CIDP: chronic progressive and relapsing. The chronic type is one that slowly worsens in time. The relapsing type may show symptoms off and on. Having a relapsing type of CIDP does not change the course of treatment. This is a rare disease and is often hard to diagnose. This is not a disease you can get from your parents and it’s actually rare to see it in more than one person in a family. You cannot catch CIDP. It is not infectious like HIV or even the common cold. You can develop it at any age, and the disease has been found in both men and women.
Treatment for CIDP involves suppressing the immune system to prevent further damage to nerve cells. This is done with the help of immunosuppressants. People taking immunosuppressants can be at an increased risk of developing infections or other types of illnesses. New patients with CIDP have an 80% response rate to medication. In most cases, it has been shown that nerve cells will repair themselves in time with the use of immune suppression therapy.
The exact cause of CIDP is not known. CIDP is a relatively new condition that affects a small percentage of the population, but researchers believe that environmental factors may be to blame. Some people with CIDP can continue to lead normal lives. However, others may be faced with total disability, depending on how far the disease has progressed and the effectiveness of various treatment methods. Coping can be very difficult. Depression is common in anyone diagnosed with a chronic condition. Having support from family and friends is very important, and there are online communities that are devoted to these types of autoimmune conditions, so that people with CIDP can find additional support.