Any number of things can cause peripheral neuropathy.
One of the lesser known causes can be an assault on your nerves by the very immune cells designed to protect your body from foreign infection. Once the nerves are attacked by these so-called “good” cells, they either fail to respond or respond so weakly that they are totally ineffective.
This failed or pitifully weak response leads to
• Pain, especially in the feet and hands
• Muscle weakness
• Loss of reflexes
• Difficulty walking
• Fainting spells
All caused by a particular type of immune related peripheral neuropathy called Chronic Inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy or “CIDP”.
What is CIDP?
Closely related to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, CIDP is what is known as an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves. Basically, that means that the immune system has malfunctioned, attacked the nerves and damaged the protective covering that normally shields the nerves and insulates them.
Once that protective covering has been compromised, the peripheral nervous system breaks down and the damage becomes CIPD. Chances of relapse and progression of your peripheral neuropathy with CIPD are very high so it’s vital that you seek treatment immediately if you have any of the above symptoms, especially if you also have
• Herpes simplex
Any of those illnesses compromise your immune system and increase the chances that your symptoms are CIPD related.
How Is CIPD Diagnosed?
Because your neuropathy symptoms with CIPD progress rapidly and can come and go, there is a possibility that you may see your doctor on a “good” day. Don’t let the good days fool you. As your CIPD progresses you may even develop bowel and bladder control issues if the autonomic nervous system is affected. Monitor the pattern and progression of your symptoms and make an appointment to see your doctor.
To diagnose CIPD, your doctor needs to perform a complete clinical neurological examination; however, most experts agree that you must have symptoms for at least 8 weeks before an accurate diagnosis can be made. Once you’ve had symptoms for that period of time, your doctor will do a series of tests including:
• Electrodiagnostics – including electrymyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS)
• Blood serum tests to rule out other autoimmune diseases
• Nerve biopsy – only if they cannot get a clear diagnosis with the EMG and blood serum tests and can’t rule out other possible causes for your neuropathy, such as heredity or as a side effect of some other illness.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
While CIDP is not curable, it can be treated and you can get some relief from the symptoms. The normal course of treatment is corticosteroids, plasma exchange and/or intravenous immunoglobulin.
A highly skilled medical professional well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve damage is your best place to start for treatment of your CIDP. An excellent place to start is with a NeuropathyDr® clinician. They have had great success in treating patients with hereditary neuropathy in all its various forms.
In addition to drug therapies, there are steps you can take to repair your immune system and get those good cells working like they should again.
First – correct any dietary deficiencies you may have.
Second – start an exercise program to rebuild your muscles. You may not be able to do much at first but just walking every day will help. Once you become accustomed to walking, move up to a good low impact activity like yoga or swimming.
Third – talk to your doctor about nerve stimulation therapy to help your nerves repair themselves from the onslaught of your immune system.
If you think you may have CIPD in any of its forms (i.e., Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Myasthenia Gravis, Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome, etc.), seek treatment now. While you can’t be cured, you can take steps to treat and lessen your symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life. Contact us today for information on how your CIPD can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDR® in your area.