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CIDP Symptoms: What Causes This Rare Disease?

Home  /  CIDP   /  CIDP Symptoms: What Causes This Rare Disease?
examine nerve on a woman's feet for CIDP

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when swelling caused by inflamed nerve roots and peripheral nerves destroys the myelin sheath (the protective covering around nerves).

As a result, nerve fibers become damaged, and the body’s ability to send signals to the brain slows significantly.

This rare neurological disorder affects the nervous system, causing numbness, pain, slow reflexes, and weakness in the limbs. Untreated, it can affect motor function in the arms and legs and in some cases, cause severe nerve damage.


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What Causes CIDP?

What triggers CIDP is currently unknown. It is more commonly found in people over the age of 50, and men are twice as likely to develop this rare disease.


What Are the Symptoms of CIDP?

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Common symptoms of CIDP include:

  • Paralyzing numbness.
  • Tingling and pain in the extremities.
  • Pins and needles sensation searing through the limbs.
  • Burning or stabbing pain.
  • Lack of sensation.
  • Physical weakness and fatigue.

People diagnosed with CIDP may have difficulty:

  • Walking or climbing stairs.
  • Lifting objects above their head.
  • Performing simple activities like buttoning clothing or writing.
  • Maintaining balance.
  • Preventing falls.

It is important to note that these are not isolated symptoms but chronic conditions that last eight weeks or longer and worsen over time.



CIDP SymptomsCIDP vs. GBS

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) attacks the myelin sheath in a way similar to CIDP. The two share many symptoms; however, there are some key differences:

  • GBS symptoms develop much more quickly
  • GBS can affect breathing, which can cause respiratory arrest. 

CIDP, on the other hand, is a chronic condition where worsening symptoms develop over an extended period.

If you are concerned that you may have CIDP, schedule a doctor’s visit right away and request to be tested.

Since CIDP is rare and difficult to diagnose, you may want to document your CIDP symptoms and how they progress over time. Your doctor may need this information to assess your situation accurately. 

The sooner you seek help, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible nerve damage.


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