Diseases in which inflammatory demyelination is present include MS, Devic’s disease, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, optic neuritis, and chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. These are by no means all of the diseases known about where nerve cells within the body are attacked by the immune system.

When nerve cells are damaged by the white blood cells in the body, such as with Multiple Sclerosis, the individual nerves can no longer transmit electrical impulses effectively. These cells could be in the brain, spinal cord, or eyes. In MS, the central nervous system is affected by the demyelination of nerve cells, but in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, the peripheral nervous system is conflicted. Whether the CNS or the PNS is afflicted, the symptoms tend to be very similar. Patients will generally experience numbness and tingling, weakness in limbs, fatigue, pain, partial or total paralysis, and sometimes loss of muscle control.

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is one example of the diseases where the peripheral nervous system is affected. The PNS connects limbs and organs to the CNS and allows the body to move smoothly. As nerve cells are damaged by the white blood cells in the body, the signals within each nerve are either lost altogether or diffused by the demyelination process.

The prognosis for CIDP various just as much as it does for patients with MS. Each person reacts to the disease differently and the severity and occurrence of symptoms can vary as well. Both MS and CIDP have cycles of relapses and remissions, but the length of time between each of these can range between months and years.


Diagnosing CIDP


CIDP is usually diagnosed through a serious of tests, the first one being a neurological exam. The doctor will need to find out what symptoms have emerged, which ones still exist, how long they have been going on, and a series of questions about any additional abnormalities must be answered. Radiating pain, muscle atrophy, twitching, cranial nerve dysfunction, dizziness, cardiac problems, bladder malfunction are some additional symptoms that may be present with CIDP.

In order to make an accurate diagnosis of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, the symptoms need to have lasted at least 8 weeks, but preferably longer. A spinal tap is used to test for anti-ganglioside antibodies and a biopsy of the sural nerve is performed. This nerve runs down the lower leg and towards the toes. Diagnosing an inflammatory demyelination disease as soon as possible is necessary for proper treatment. Any odd symptoms or sensations should be checked out by a doctor right away.


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