Chronic demyelination is also known as CIDP or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. It is similar to MS because it is also an autoimmune disease. The main difference between these two diseases is that MS affects the central nervous system and CIDP affects the peripheral nervous system. The PNS is in charge of enabling the CNS and the organs and limbs to communicate effectively. As the peripheral nerves are damaged by the immune system, the myelin sheath is no longer able to function normally.

People with CIDP begin to lose proper sensory function in their arms and legs. This disease causes a progressive weakness and can occur at any age, even though the percentage of young adults affected with CIDP is generally higher than older individuals. Men also seem to be diagnosed more often than women do with this disease.

Tingling and numbness begins in the toes and fingers during the beginning stages of CIDP. Besides these mild symptoms, additional abnormal sensations can be felt, fatigue, a weakness in legs and arms, as well as a loss of reflexes in the tendons of the arms and legs. Although it is an autoimmune disease similar to MS, it is actually more closely related to Guillain-Barre syndrome.

It’s difficult to know what the future will hold for people with CIDP, due to the variations seen between each person. Relapses and remissions are also present with this disease, just as in MS. But, similarly to other demyelinating diseases, the amount of damage done will determine the extent of the disability displayed.


Treating CIDP


Due to the inflammatory nature of this disease, the first line of defense against CIDP is to administer corticosteroids. Medications of this type help to reduce the inflammation in nerve cells. Plasmapheresis is used to remove, treat, and replace blood plasma through the use of an external device. This treatment and the administering of intravenous immunoglobulin can be quite expensive, so the use of corticosteroids is often performed first.

Immunosuppressive drugs are sometimes used to lower the functioning process of an overactive immune system. Certain types of immunosuppressive medications are still being studied and not all have proven to be as effective as researchers once hoped. Physical therapy is another form of treatment that helps many CIDP patients, especially when used in conjunction with these other types of treatments listed above. Treatment of chronic demyelination must take place as soon as possible, in order to prevent a complete loss of nerve axons.


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