Living with CIDP
Amongst autoimmune diseases, chronic immune demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is an extremely rare neurological disorder that is difficult to diagnose. Although the cause of this condition is unknown, many patients have successfully recovered with proper medical treatment and care.
What are the stages of CIDP?
CIDP is a chronic condition with symptoms that develop over the course of eight weeks or longer and last several months to several years. This autoimmune disease attacks the myelin sheath, the fatty covering that protects nerve fibers, causing peripheral neuropathy over time.
CIDP prognosis can vary greatly depending on several factors, including how soon treatment begins after the onset of the condition and how a patient reacts to the treatment. Since CIDP symptoms progress slowly, and the disease is difficult to diagnose, proper treatment and therapy may not be provided for several months or even years. If treatment is delayed, a patient’s response to therapy may not be as effective and worse. They may already possess irreversible nerve damage or permanent disability.
Some CIDP cases can be progressive, meaning symptoms worsen over time. Others are categorized as recurrent, where the disease appears in episodes that come and go. CIDP can also be marked by a single incident that lasts for one to three years, then does not recur.
Most patients who seek treatment early can recover. However, some may experience permanent numbness or weakness due to mild nerve damage.
Recommended dietary changes for CIDP patient
CIDP patients are cautioned to avoid food that can stimulate inflammation to help prevent additional pain and discomfort associated with the disease. This may include fatty foods and processed junk food. Instead, incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and food rich in omega-3 like salmon or flaxseed.
Life for CIDP patients
Living with a rare autoimmune disease can create a lot of uncertainty. It’s essential to be open to help and treatment from medical professionals as well as with people in your life. Start by being diligent with your treatment and communicate regularly with your doctor. As you undergo treatment, you will be closely monitored to see how your body reacts. This may require frequent doctor visits and a variety of prescribed medications and therapies including corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), plasma exchange and immunosuppressant drugs.
In addition to medication, patients may need to incorporate physical therapy to rebuild motor functions or occupational therapy to learn new ways to accomplish daily tasks. Many patients are also advised to join support groups if they are experiencing depression due to their physical limitations. You may need to rely on relatives, close friends or even medical professionals to help with daily activities due to limited mobility.
If you or someone close to you has recently been diagnosed with CIDP, know that you are not alone, and that treatment is available. Seek treatment immediately and look out for relapses to help minimize the impact of this disease.