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Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) Misdiagnosis


What is CIDP?

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is a rare disorder that occurs when the myelin sheaths that surround the peripheral nerves are damaged. Myelin helps ensure that signals from the brain are quickly transmitted to the right parts of the body. If destroyed, there is a lack of communication between the brain and body nerves. This lack of communication leads to gradual impaired function, especially in the arms and the legs. CIPD requires immediate medical care, but it is not always a clear diagnosis. Since it shares symptoms with other diseases that impact the nervous system, misdiagnosis is common.

What are the symptoms?

When it comes to CIDP, it is important to understand your symptoms to try to prevent misdiagnosis and to provide the proper treatment you may need. Symptoms of CIDP progress over time, beginning with minor weakness and impaired motor control. Symptoms tend to worsen as the damage worsens, leading to more pain, difficulty, and decreased muscle function on a daily basis.

Early symptoms of CIDP

  • Numbness or tingling in arms or legs
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness (loss of strength)
  • Impaired balance and coordination

Later symptoms of CIDP

  • The gradual difficulty of walking and speaking
  • Loss of sensation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Incontinence (inability to control urine and stools)

What are the effects and frequency of a misdiagnosis?

CIDP has many overlapping symptoms with other serious ailments, making it difficult to properly address. A major reason: it’s a rare disorder, so not many have seen it and cannot properly diagnose it in its early stages.

Other conditions that have similar symptoms include:

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Lewis-Sumner syndrome
  • Multifocal motor neuropathy
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

These conditions all involve damage to the nervous system and its ability to communicate with other functions of the body, resulting in issues such as feelings of weak and uncoordinated legs, feet, arms, and hands. However, once symptoms have been prevalent for a prolonged period, a medical professional should be able to differentiate between the symptom patterns. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis of CIDP is common, with around half of patients being found to not meet the minimal criteria for a diagnosis, but still were given one anyway. This can have serious repercussions for the patient, as they may undergo risky and painful treatments for a condition that they do not have.

If you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed for CIDP or similar neurological disorders, please contact Potter Law, LLC today.