Guillain-Barré Syndrome

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What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an inflammatory disorder of the (located outside the brain and spinal cord) which are attacked by the body’s immune system. These damaged nerves are unable, to varying degrees, to perform their functions correctly. The reason for the immune system’s attack on the body is currently unknown. However, the focus of the attack is the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons of nerve cells and sometimes, the axons themselves.

GBS is considered a rare disorder, affecting approximately 2 to 3 per 100,000 people a year. The incidence tends to increase with age, so GBS is most common in people between the ages of 50 and 80.

Most often, GBS follows a viral or bacterial infection, but pregnancy, surgery, or vaccinations may trigger the disorder in rare instances. GBS symptoms may include: lower limb numbness and tingling, symmetrical leg and arm weakness, severe back pain, muscle aching and cramping, shortness of breath and bieralfacial drooping (palsy). Severity of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

Note: Symmetrical leg and arm weakness helps differentiate GBS from other disorders.

GBS treatment may include plasmapheresis (plasma exchange), immunoglobulin therapy, assisted ventilation and occupational therapy.


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Useful Links

GBS/CIDP Foundation International
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