Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a kind of autoimmune neurological disorder in which immune system attacks its own body's peripheral nerves.

Peripheral nerves are the network of nerves present outside the brain and spinal cord in the form of afferent and efferent nerve fibers (sensory and motor nerve fibers).

GB syndrome affects both the sexes equally and it can occurs in any age but mainly affects the adults and the older age.

GB syndrome may leads to mild to severe paralysis life threatening symptoms.

There is no cure for this syndrome only symptomatic treatment can enhance the quality of the life.                                                                                   

Causes of GB syndrome

The exact cause of the GB syndrome is unknown but it mainly occurs due to the any respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

According to the National institute of neurological disorders and stroke only about 1 person in 100,000 Americans.

Campylobacter jejuni is kind of bacteria that causes the intestinal infection. This kind of bacteria is mainly present in the non cooked food that is poultry farms.

Campylobacter causes the diarrhea and leads to sudden weakness in the body and gives life threatening symptoms.

Some of other infection associated with the GB syndrome-

  • Influenza virus
  • Epstein-Barr Virus infection
  • Cytomegalovirus is a herpes virus infection
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia

Symptoms of GB syndrome

  1. Peripheral nervous system is being attacked by the immune system . The sensory nerves carries peripheral sensation to the brain and motor nerves carries the motor impulses from the brain to the effector organs.
  2. In GB syndrome the nerve fibers are damaged, so muscles does not get any signals or impulses for their contractions.
  3. The first symptom in GB syndrome starts from the lower extremity involving the tingling sensation in the toes and the foot within 24-48 hours.
  4. Muscles weakness from dorsal to proximal level from feet to legs moving upwards towards the thorax  and symptoms gets worsen with the time.
  5. Difficulty in walking and balancing of the body.
  6. All the voluntary muscles becomes weak and paralyzed.
  7. Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, talking.
  8. Difficulty in breathing and congestion in the chest.
  9. Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting.
  10. Low back pain.
  11. loss of bladder and bowel control.
  12. changes in the vitals- heart rate and respiratory rate.                    

Diagnosis of GB syndrome

GB syndrome is very difficult to diagnose because its earlier symptoms are similar to other neurological diseases such as meningitis, multiple sclerosis, botulism or lead poisoning.

Physical examination of the body muscle mass, any deformity, skin infection, vitals.
Spinal tap where CSF is taken for the examination of protein level and  for the detection of the pathogens present in the CSF.
In GB syndrome protein level is higher than the normal.

Electromyography (EMG)- for the functioning of the muscles and which nerves are damaged can be easily diagnosed.

Nerve conduction velocity (NCV)- for the functioning of the nerve fibers whether nerve fibers are fully damaged or partially preserved.

Treatment of GB syndrome

There is no cure for the GB syndrome but symptomatic treatment can increase the quality of the life.
The symptoms can be worsen as the diseases progress.
Respiratory muscles paralysis leads to difficulty in breathing so proper ventilation should be provided.

Plasmapheresis- It is intended to remove the antibodies that attacks the healthy nervous tissues. In this procedure extra antibodies have been removed from the blood by a machine.
Intravenous immunoglobulin- These immunoglobulins helps in removing the extra antibodies by blocking them.

Physical and occupational therapy can also recover the body in initial phase by strengthening the muscles and increasing the range of the motion.

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