Guillain-Barre syndrome (Guillain-Barré syndrome) is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Tingling and weakness in extremities are usually the first symptoms.
In many instances, the abnormal sensations and symmetrical weakness spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until some muscles cannot be used at all and, when it gets severe, the person is almost completely paralyzed.
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Such an individual is often put on a ventilator to assist with breathing and is watched closely for problems like infections, blood clots, an abnormal heartbeat, and high or low blood pressure. Most individuals, however, have a good recovery from even the most severe cases of this syndrome, although some continue to have a certain degree of weakness.
The cause of this Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it is usually triggered by an infectious disease like stomach ache or pneumonia.
There are several types of Guillain-Barre, but the most common form is acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP). This leads to damage to the myelin ( a fatty white substance that encompasses the axon of some nerve cells,). Other species include Miller Fisher syndrome, which affects the cranial nerves.
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What causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
The precise cause of Guillain-Barré is unknown. People with Guillain-Barre syndrome develop it after they’ve been sick with respiratory infection or diarrhea. This situation suggests that the disorder may be triggered by an improper immune response to the previous illness.
There are several infections that have also been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome including;
- Epstein-Barr virus infection or mononucleosis
- Mycoplasma pneumonia
- HIV or AIDS
What are the Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
The symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome include;
- Tingling or prickly sensations in fingers and toes
- Muscle weakness in legs that travels to the upper body and gets worse over time
- Difficulty in moving eyes or face, talking, chewing, or swallowing
- Severe lower back pain
- Difficulty walking steadily
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty in breathing
- Increase in heart rate
What are the Treatment Options for Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Anyone with Guillain-Barré should be admitted to a hospital for his/her close observation. The symptoms can suddenly get worse and can be fatal if they aren’t treated properly. In severe cases, people with Guillain-Barre have chances to develop full-body paralysis. Guillain-Barre syndrome can be life-threatening if paralysis affects the chest muscles and diaphragm, preventing proper breathing.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune inflammatory process that is self-limiting, it will resolve on its own. The goal of the treatment is to decrease the severity of the immune attack and to support the body functions while the nervous system recovers.
Treatment may include:
- Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange)
- Intravenous immunoglobulin
- Other treatment such as physical therapy.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Although the disease is not so severed, small knowledge can help in the prevention of the disease before it becomes severe.
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