Reply To: Additional Autoimmune Disorders Plus CIDP
I started with GBS, and then it went into CIDP, then MFS, now Anemia. Who knows what’s next.
Once our autoimmune systems learn how to produce White Blood Cells that attack “self”, many things that trigger our immune systems into action (the common cold, measles, shingles, or flu bugs, including shots that are supposed to cause our immune systems to develop antibodies) can also trigger production of cells that attack “self”. As a result, I think we are more susceptible to other types of autoimmune disorders than those who have not had CIDP (or related) disease.
Here’s a summary of the types of cells involved:
• B lymphocytes (B cells) are antibody-producing cells that are essential for acquired, antigen-specific immune responses. Fully mature B-cells are called plasma cells that produce antibodies, immune proteins that target and destroy bacteria, viruses and other “non-self” foreign antigens.
• T lymphocytes (T cells): Some T cells help the body distinguish between “self” and “non-self” antigens. Others initiate and control the extent of an immune response, boosting it as needed and then slowing it as the condition resolves. Other types of T cells directly attack and neutralize virus-infected or cancerous cells.
• Natural killer cells (NK cells) directly attack and kill abnormal cells such as cancer cells or those infected with a virus.
My B-Cells became hyper-active about a year ago, making a bunch of clonal versions of themselves. This gave me a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that interfered with Red Blood Cell (RBC) production (hence, my anemia). Rituxan was used to treat my condition and its working. Rituxan is also used to treat CIDP when IVIg or SCIg cannot be used, or Plasma Exchange (often used in conjunction with Prednisone) doesn’t work well. Rituxan is also a treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and some other diseases. Please see the Rituxan discussion thread for more info about it as an alternative to IVIg.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) is another fairly common disorder; akin to CIDP (I don’t have DPN but others here have cited it). An estimated 60-70% of Diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Read a DPN informational brochure here:
Additional info and other resources are here:
Yet another common disease (that I don’t have either, but can be miss-diagnosed as CIDP) is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT. This is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves. CMT is usually confirmed through genetic testing: http://www.cmtausa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=741&catid=10&Itemid=37
One of the more popular treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy disorders is an immunosuppressant drug. These drugs help suppress the auto-immune system from producing bad antibodies over time. These are strong drugs and may have side affects for some. Prednisone, CellCept, and Rituximab are some of the more popular drugs being used.
Others, me included, have found that over-the-counter Alpha Lipoic Acid (1200-1800 MG /day) can help reduce reoccurrences too.