CIDP(Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) is a rare illness that causes gradual weakness in the legs and sometimes arms. According to the GBS/CIDP Foundation International website, the occurrence of new cases of CIDP is estimated between 1.5 and 3.6 in a million people (http://www.gbs-cidp.org/home/cidp/cidp/). Left untreated it has been reported that 30% of patients will become wheelchair dependent (http://www.gbs-cidp.org/home/cidp/cidp/).
Our nerves are protected by a layer of insulation called myelin. In patients with CIDP it is believed that the immune system perceives the myelin as a foreign body and begins attacking it. As the myelin sheath begins to be stripped away the nerve conduction begins to slow. This is what causes the weakness to occur. The real problem is the fact that it is unclear what actually causes the immune system to start these attacks.