Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) is when the body’s immune system slowly attacks the peripheral nerves causing weakness or paralysis of the legs and the arms. CIDP is a form of autoimmune disease. What happens is the body’s defenses attack and strip away the covering that protects the nerves, which is called the myelin sheath. In later stages of the disease the immune system breaks through the myelin covering and attacks the nerves themselves. The disease is related to Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), and Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (AIDP) but in the case of CIDP the effects come on more slowly and are chronic or long lasting. CIDP is also called Chronic Relapsing Polyneuropathy when patients seem to stabilize and recover, then experience a return of the symptoms later on.
The most common symptoms include fatigue, loss of reflexes, tingling in the arms and legs, numbness, aching pain in the muscles, weakness and paralysis. These symptoms typically come on slowly and progress for a long period of time. Patients are usually treated for CIDP with repeated courses of either an intravenous immunoglobulin or plasma exchange. Early treatment is the key to long term recovery of CIDP.
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CIDP and GBS can be triggered by the seasonal influenza vaccine; the flu shot; the diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus shot, or DTaP immunization; the hepatitis-B vaccine; and the measles, mumps and rubella immunization (MMR vaccine). Another vaccine that may trigger CIDP is the polio immunization.
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Learn more at GBS-CIDP Foundation
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