What is Guillain-Barré syndrome? / Know better the causes and symptoms of this disease

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), leading to weakness, numbness and tingling, eventually leading to paralysis. .

The cause of this disease is still unknown, but it may be caused by an infectious disease such as gastroenteritis (irritation of the stomach or intestines) or a lung infection. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre syndrome is rare and affects one in every 100,000 Americans.

There is no cure for this syndrome, but some treatments can reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease. There are several types of Guillain-Barré syndrome, but the most common is chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), which causes damage to myelin. According to Health Line, one of its types includes Miller-Fisher syndrome, which affects the cranial nerves.

What causes Guillain-Barré syndrome?

The exact cause of Guillain-Barré is still unknown. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two-thirds of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome develop diarrhea or a respiratory infection immediately after illness, indicating an inadequate immune response to the previous illness. Causes this disorder.

Campylobacter jejuni infection has been associated with Guillain-Barré. Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrhea in the United States, and is also the most common risk factor for Guillain-Barré syndrome. Campylobacter is often found in undercooked foods, especially poultry. The following infections are also associated with Guillain-Barre:
Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is a strain of the herpes virus
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
Mycoplasma pneumonia is an unusual pneumonia caused by organisms such as bacteria.
Anyone can get Guillain-Barré syndrome, but it is more common in adults.
In very rare cases, people can get the disorder a few days or weeks after receiving the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have organizations to monitor vaccine safety, diagnose early signs of side effects, and record cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome that occur after vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that research suggests that the flu is more likely to be received than the Guillain-Barré vaccine.

What are the symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome?

In Guillain’s syndrome, the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system. The nerves in the peripheral nervous system connect the brain to the rest of the body and transmit signals to the muscles. If these nerves are damaged, the muscles will not be able to respond to the signals received from the brain.

The first sign is usually a tingling sensation in the toes, hands and feet. The needle also extends upward to the arms and fingers. The symptoms of this disease can progress so quickly that in some people the disease becomes serious in just a few hours. Guillain-Barré symptoms include the following:
Tingling or itching in the fingers and toes
Muscle weakness in the legs that reaches the upper body and intensifies over time
The problem of constant walking
Difficulty moving eyes or face, talking, chewing or swallowing
Severe back pain
Loss of bladder control
Fast heartbeat
Difficulty breathing

How is Guillain-Barré syndrome diagnosed?

Guillain-Barré is difficult to diagnose at first because the symptoms are very similar to other neurological disorders or conditions such as botulism, meningitis, or heavy metal poisoning that affect the nervous system. Heavy metal poisoning is caused by substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic.

The doctor will ask about specific symptoms and medical history of the oven, so in case of any recent illness or infection or even in the past, the doctor must be informed. The following tests are used to help confirm the diagnosis:

Lumbar puncture

Lumbar puncture, spinal puncture, or spinal fusion involves taking a small amount of fluid from the spine in the lower back. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and then cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is tested for protein levels. People with Guillain-Barré syndrome typically have higher than normal protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid.


Electromyography is a nerve function test that reads the electrical activity of a muscle to help your doctor determine if muscle weakness is due to nerve damage or muscle damage.

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Nerve conduction study experiment

Nerve conduction studies may be used to assess the response of nerves and muscles to small electrical pulses.

How is Guillain-Barré syndrome treated?

Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune inflammatory process that is self-limiting, meaning it is likely to resolve spontaneously. However, any person with the disease should be hospitalized for close observation as symptoms can worsen quickly and can be fatal if left untreated.

In severe cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome can lead to complete paralysis of the body. If paralysis affects the diaphragm or chest muscles, it can impede proper breathing, in which case Guillain-Barre can be life-threatening. The goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of the immune attack and support the function of organs such as the lungs while the nervous system improves. Treatments include the following:


The immune system produces proteins called antibodies that normally attack harmful foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs when the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack healthy nerves in the body’s nervous system.

Plasmapheresis is used to kill antibodies that attack nerves in the blood. During this method, blood is removed from the body by the device. This device removes the antibodies from the blood and then returns the blood to the body.

Intravenous immunoglobulin

High doses of immunoglobulin help block the antibodies that cause Guillain-Barré syndrome. Immunoglobulin contains healthy and natural antibodies from donors.

Intravenous plasmapheresis and immunoglobulin are equally effective, so the patient can decide with the help of a doctor to choose one of these treatments.

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Other treatments

Medication may be given to relieve pain and prevent blood clots while you are immobile. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are also likely to be prescribed. In the acute phase of the disease, caregivers manually move the person’s arms and legs to be flexible.

Once the healing process begins, therapists will work with the individual to strengthen the muscles and a range of activities in daily life, which can include activities that even include personal care such as dressing.

What are the potential complications of Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barre affects the nerves, so weakness and paralysis can affect several parts of the body. Complications May be difficult to breathe. When paralyzed or weak, it spreads to the muscles that control breathing, so it is possible that the respiratory system will need to breathe when this complication occurs.

Side effects can also include the following:
Prolonged weakness, numbness or other strange feelings even after recovery
Heart problems or high blood pressure
the pain
Slow bowel or bladder function
Blood clots and bed sores due to paralysis

What is the long-term outlook for Guillain-Barré syndrome?

The recovery period for Guillain-Barré syndrome can be long, but most people recover. Symptoms generally get worse 2 to 4 weeks before stabilization, then the recovery process can take from a few weeks to several years, but most people recover within 6 to 12 months.

About 80% of people with Guillain-Barré can walk independently for 6 months, and 60% regain their regular muscle strength in one year. For some, the recovery process takes longer. About 30% after 3 years still struggle with weaknesses.

About 3% of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome experience recurrence of symptoms such as weakness and tingling even years after the onset of the disease. In rare cases, these conditions can be life threatening, especially if left untreated. Factors that lead to worse results include:
High age
Severe or rapidly progressing disease
Delay in treatment leading to further nerve damage
Prolonged use of the respiratory system, which can predispose a person to pneumonia
Blood clots and bed sores that result from immobility can be reduced. Blood thinners and compression stockings minimize clotting. Frequent body movements relieve long-term body pressure that leads to tissue breakdown or bed sores. In addition to physical symptoms, Guillain-Barré syndrome also causes emotional problems. Adapting to limited mobility and increasing dependence on others can be challenging, so it is best to talk to a therapist.
Translator: Elahe Zarei

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