cidp smoking

Can Smoking Trigger CIDP or Make it Worse?

Smoking has been linked to a variety of illnesses, but it may be making your CIDP symptoms worse.

By Shiraz Abbas

Over the last few decades, there have been many proven reports on the ill effects of smoking. These range from lung cancer to heart disease and stroke. But what about its effects on autoimmune diseases like CIDP? While I conduct support groups for CIDP, it’s not rare that I come across CIDP patients who smoke regularly.

So what I want us to look at today are the ill effects of smoking on people who suffer from CIDP.

Studies have shown that people who stop smoking begin to see decreased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Alternatively, people who smoke have an increased risk of developing RA. According to Every Day Health, this is because

smoking increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in people who have certain type of antibodies called anticitrulline antibodies. Citrulline is an amino acid that can affect proteins in the body. It’s thought that these proteins, modified with citrulline, could be linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking has also been linked to an increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Smoking also weakens the immune system and increases the risk of inflammation. We know that chronic inflammation is a core issue for CIDP and hence the name “Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy.”


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Another issue that smokers have is that they are more likely to drink alcohol as well. In a previous article we saw how alcohol can make CIDP symptoms worse for two reasons:

#1: Alcohol may damage your immune system and make it more difficult to regulate autoimmune responses

#2: Alcohol may encourage the growth of certain types of bad gut bacteria that are responsible for chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorders like CIDP.

Quitting smoking can be difficult, but doing so will improve your health in many regards and may also help alleviate your CIDP symptoms. There is no harm in quitting smoking.

As I always say, before you do anything please make sure to talk to your doctor first.

Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.

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