Why is it Difficult to Diagnose Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)?

According to a story from WebMD, the rare nervous system disorder chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is notorious for being difficult to diagnose. Many rare diseases can be challenging to identify. Since doctors may not have the experience or prior knowledge necessary to suspect a rare diagnosis, raising awareness is critical. However, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy has some specific characteristics that can make diagnosis a real challenge, even for more experienced doctors.

About Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a disorder which is most characterized by inflammation of the peripheral nervous system. It is closely related to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and in effect is a long-term, chronic form of that disease. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy body tissue by mistake. Symptoms of the disorder include difficulty walking, tingling or numbness, nerve pain, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, loss of reflexes, and poor balance. Treatment for the disease often includes corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasmapharesis, or other drugs that can suppress the immune system. Physical therapy can produce improved muscle strength; when immune system suppressants are not effective, stem cell transplant may be considered. The disease tends to relapse and remit sporadically. To learn more about chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, click here.

Diagnosing Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

The process of diagnosing chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy often requires multiple tests and procedures. This is because the symptoms of the disorder are not distinctive enough on their own to allow for identification of the disease. Many of the symptoms of the illness are shared with other, closely related diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, multifocal motor neuropathy, and Lewis-Sumner syndrome

These similarities can make it easy for your doctor to assume that your symptoms are a more common disease. This is further complicated by the fact that chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy doesn’t always present the same way in each patient. The disease does not progress in a unique or recognizable fashion that can distinguish it easily.

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is just one of many rare diseases that can easily go undetected. If you are displaying symptoms that resemble the disease, it may be a good idea to get treatment for it anyway even without a definite diagnosis as early detection and intervention can help prevent disease progression.

For information on CIDP Webinar Wednesdays with a PW collaborator, click here and to register, click here.


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