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How to Treat CIDP Illness and What to Expect

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Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) isn’t just a complicated medical term. It’s a rare disease that can cause sensory loss and severely impact mobility. CIDP illness occurs when an autoimmune response causes the body to attack the myelin or the protective covering of the body’s nerves.

Nerve damage ensues, followed by symptoms that include weakness in the limbs, a loss of sensation and reflexes, and eventually, paralysis if untreated. Although there is no cure, early diagnosis and CIDP treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent irreversible nerve damage.


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Difficulty in Diagnosing CIDP

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CIDP is extremely rare, with approximately five to seven out of every 100,000 people diagnosed with the disease, according to

CIDP illness is often confused with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) because of the similarity of symptoms. Both are autoimmune diseases that affect the myelin (an insulating layer or sheath that forms around nerves). However, a significant difference is that GBS symptoms progress rapidly and can reach the most severe state in less than four weeks, while CIDP symptoms take longer to manifest.


“Since CIDP is a chronic disease, it is not diagnosed until symptoms persist and worsen over a period of eight weeks or longer.”

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CIDP Treatment Options

Since CIDP illness is an autoimmune disease, the prescribed treatments often work to suppress the immune response that is causing the attack on the myelin.

These treatments can include:

  • Corticosteroids: Suppresses the immune system.
  • Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG): Infuses antibodies into the blood.
  • Plasmapheresis: Removes harmful antibodies from blood circulation.

Doctors may also recommend physical therapy to help improve mobility. Treatment can help increase physical strength, balance, and coordination to improve the quality of life.


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The Life Expectancy of CIDP Patients

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Although CIDP illness is not fatal and the life expectancy of patients is comparable to those without the disease, their quality of life can be significantly impacted.

The longer the disease goes untreated, the increased nerve damage can permanently limit sensory and motor functions. If severe nerve damage sets in, patients may require assistance with daily living activities due to a lack of mobility.

You may want to discuss the possibility of CIDP illness with your doctor if you are experiencing unexplainable numbness or a loss of reflexes in your limbs for a prolonged time.

The sooner you identify the disease and begin CIDP treatment, the higher the chance you can reverse symptoms and prevent further damage to your nerves. If you have questions about financial assistance, please contact us or book a call with a specialist.

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