What Is CIDP?

CIDP affects the nervous system throughout the body.
CIDP occurs when the immune system begins to identify the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers as a foreign substance.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
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Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIPD), is a disorder that impacts both the central and peripheral nervous systems. While people of any age or gender can develop CIDP, the disorder usually strikes men who are under the age of 30. In some cases, CIDP may disappear as quickly as it developed and never trouble the individual again. In other cases, the disorder seems to return periodically throughout the life of the person. There is also the potential for lingering side effects from the disorder.

The cause for CIDP appears to be a malfunction of the body’s immune system. Because the immune system fights anything perceived as a foreign substance to be a threat to the body, the system begins to produce antibodies in order to isolate and eventually eradicate the intruder. CIDP occurs when the immune system begins to identify the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers in the peripheral nervous system as a foreign substance. As the immune system seeks to destroy the sheaths, the nerve fibers are unable to function properly and a series of CIDP symptoms begin to appear.


CIDP symptoms are focused on the development and progression of problems in the legs and arms. As the sheaths around the peripheral nerves are weakened, the sensory function and the ability to control movement is impaired. An individual with CIDP will often begin to experience a sense of weakness in the arms and legs that seems to get worse over time, even with regular exercise. Numbness or a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes may also begin to appear. Overwhelming fatigue is also a common symptom.

Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat the symptoms of CIDP. When identified in the early stages, CIDP treatment will usually employ a combination of regular exercise and the use of drugs that will help to suppress the production of antibodies that attack the myelin sheath. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy may be used to help alleviate some of the symptoms, such as the numbness or loss of sensation in the extremities. In some cases, CIDP treatment may include the use of corticosteriods along with the application of drugs to suppress the function of the immune system. During the treatment phase, it is important to monitor progress regularly and adjust the treatment process as needed.

It is possible for CIDP to go into recession without the use of drugs or intravenous therapies of any type. This is not usually the case, however.


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Post 4

cidpusa has very good information.

Post 3

Thanks for the excellent information and you have opened my eyes.

Post 1

Does an MRI show changes in the myelin sheath with CIDP in the early stages?

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