Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare autoimmune disorder in which there is swelling of nerve roots and destruction of the covering (myelin sheath) over the nerves. This causes weakness, paralysis, and/or impairment in motor function, especially of the arms and legs. Sensory loss may also be present, causing numbness, tingling, and burning sensations. The motor and sensory impairments are usually found on both sides of the body. The severity of CIDP can vary from mild to severe. CIDP can affect any age group, and the onset may begin anytime throughout life.
The course of CIDP may also vary. Some patients may follow a slow steady pattern of symptoms, while other patients have symptoms that flare and remit. The most severe symptoms usually occur after many months of symptoms that come and go. One characteristic that differentiates this disorder from other similar demyelinating diseases is that there is typically no preceding viral infection at least three to four months prior to onset, such as in the case of Guillain-Barrë syndrome.