Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Symptoms And Treatments
Guillain-Barre syndrome, also known as acute idiopathic polyneuritis, is an autoimmune disorder that targets the body’s nervous system. In Guillain-Barre syndrome, the immune system mistakenly targets the nerves surrounding the brain and spinal cord, according to New York University. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, Guillain-Barre syndrome is very rare, occurring at rates lower than two out of every 100,000 people. The symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome include muscle weakness, pain, and difficulty walking.
The causes of Guillain-Barre syndrome remain elusive. The Mayo Clinic outlines certain risk factors which are sometimes associated with the disorder. More than half of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome were suffering from a lung or digestive infection in the immediate time before becoming afflicted. However, Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs in only a small fraction of such cases. It has also been observed after catching various other viruses including Epstein-Barr, mono, HIV, and the herpes virus.
The symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome are severe and can develop rapidly. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the condition can take anywhere between a matter of hours and a matter of weeks to develop. Muscles become weak, bordering on paralysis. Early symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome include pain that is often concentrated in the lower back, weakness and numbness in the legs, and trouble walking. As the condition progresses, this loss of muscle function spreads throughout the limbs and muscle reflexes are impaired.
In most cases, the worst symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome develop after a couple of weeks. The worst cases can cause near total paralysis, difficulty breathing, reduced heart rate, and falling blood pressure. The condition is very dangerous and medical attention should be sought immediately when these symptoms appear.
Treatments for Guillain-Barre syndrome vary depending on the severity of the case and the medical history of the patient. According to the Hershey Medical Center at Penn State University, plasmaphersis, a treatment involving filtering of the blood, is a common intervention. Physical therapy can also be effective in patients who develop paralysis. The University of Chicago reports that the outlook of Guillain-Barre syndrome is actually fairly positive. Most people who develop the condition wind up experiencing a full recovery within a matter of months, though some can take years to fully recover.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that strikes the nervous system. Muscle function and feeling can become impaired, even resulting in borderline paralysis in the worst cases. The condition can develop rapidly, sometimes presenting its most paralyzing symptoms within mere hours. Talk to your doctor about any questions about Guillain-Barre syndrome, the conditions associated with its development, its symptoms, and treatments for the condition.