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What causes GBS/CIDP?

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Quick Answer

Formally referred to as Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, the cause of GBS/CIPD is unknown, according to the GBS/CIDP Foundation International. The two disorders vary, but both cause nerve damage.

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Guillain-Barré syndrome gained attention after a number of people vaccinated for swine flu were diagnosed with it in 1976. The body's immune system attacks itself, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The onset is rapid, starting with numbness and weakness in the extremities and sometimes paralysis.

The onset of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is gradual, reports the GBS/CIDP Foundation International. Fewer patients are diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy than Guillain-Barré syndrome. Left untreated, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy causes severe disabilities.

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