Jump to main content

What is CIDP?

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare condition that occurs when myelin surrounding the peripheral nerves is mistakenly attacked by the immune system. Symptoms impact many parts of the body, but most notably the feet and hands, making day-to-day life challenging.

Hover over image for a fast fact about cidp icon arrow

Tap image for a fast fact about cidp

CIDP overview

Here are some key points about to keep in mind:

Up to 29,000 people in the United States are thought to have CIDP
Men are twice as likely as women to be affected by CIDP
While CIDP may appear at any age, people usually develop symptoms at around 50 years old
CIDP mainly impacts adults, but 10% of CIDP cases are in children

What are the symptoms of CIDP?

The symptoms of CIDP are often symmetrical—meaning that they occur evenly on both the legs and arms. Here are common symptoms to look out for.

Numbness of toes
or fingers

Loss of or
reduced reflexes

Difficulty walking


Muscle weakness And
Cramping in feet or hands

Difficulties with main
senses, including touch

Impact on daily life

The symptoms of CIDP don't just affect the body—they can impact a person's daily life as well.

People may have trouble with daily tasks, such as:

  • Daily grooming, such as washing and brushing hair
  • Getting dressed, such as doing or undoing buttons or zippers
  • Eating, including holding a knife and fork
  • Carrying or lifting items, including groceries or packages
  • Turning keys or opening items such as bottles


Have you been helping your loved one with everyday tasks because of muscle weakness? While helping with daily tasks is important, you can use your unique position to work with your loved one and their doctor to help form a clearer picture of their symptoms.

What causes CIDP?

CIDP is caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks the —a protective layer that surrounds the nerve.

The sends messages from the brain that help control essential functions of the body, such as moving muscles, maintaining a heartbeat, and digesting food.

When the nerves are damaged, the body has trouble getting a signal to complete these essential tasks. That's why people with CIDP may experience muscle weakness, which can lead to difficulty walking or issues with balance.

CIDP is both chronic and progressive, which means it's a long-term condition that can worsen over time. CIDP can go into remission, so it's important to get diagnosed as soon as possible to move forward with a management plan.

Tap on the dots to learn more about what CIDP looks like in the body of someone who is experiencing muscle weakness in their foot.



Learn how partnering with your doctor could help you better manage your CIDP.



Get the latest information on CIDP, plus a free CIDP starter kit filled with information, resources, and tools to help you along your CIDP journey.