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Guillain-Barre Syndrome – Causes and Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder where the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The nerves of PNS connect brain and spinal cord with other parts of the body. Damage to these nerves makes them hard to transmit signals and hence muscles do not respond to brain properly. Numbness and weakness arises in the extremities. These sensations spread to other parts of the body and eventually paralyzes the whole body.

The cause of gullain-barre’s syndrome is not known but sometimes it is triggered by vaccination, surgery or infection. The incidence of the syndrome is 1 or 2 out of 100,000 people. According to the research studies in the United Kingdom, about 1,500 people are affected every year. This syndrome affects people of all ages.

Causes of Guillian-Barre Syndrome
The factor that causes guillain-barre syndrome is not known. It is believed that an infection affecting either digestive tract or lungs may cause the disorder. But the reason why these infections lead to guillain-barre syndrome is not yet understood by the scientists. Some cases of the syndrome are also known to cause without any triggers.

The immune system generally attacks the foreign substances that enter the body and kill them. In this syndrome even the nerves that carry signals are also attacked and specifically myelin sheath that protects the nerves is damaged. Hence, signalling processes are interfered and result in numbness, weakness and finally paralysis.

The risk of guillain-barre syndrome is greater if an adult person is too young or too old. The risks are even greater for a person if previously affected with:

  • HIV
  • Mononucleosis
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Bacteria campylobacter
  • Had a previous surgery


Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The following signs and symptoms are observed in a person affected with guillain-barre syndrome:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Very low blood pressure or heart rate
  • Difficulty with bladder control
  • Severe pain in lower back
  • Difficulty in swallowing, chewing, speaking, facial and eye movements
  • Inability to walk and unsteady walking
  • Tingling sensations and weakness in the legs

These symptoms progress rapidly and result in paralysis of muscles, arms and legs

Consult a doctor immediately even if you experience mild tingling in toes and fingers that may get worsen. The doctor diagnoses the syndrome and provides an appropriate treatment for a good outcome.

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