What is Guillain Barre Syndrome?

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What is Guillain Barre Syndrome?
Guillain Barre Syndrome or GBS is a rare and severe autoimmune disorder which primarily affects the peripheral nervous system of the body. In this disorder, some infectious antigen attacks and damages the nerves of the body, resulting in impaired function. The damage is usually on the myelin sheath covering the nerves. If this part is impaired, motor activity is affected. Initial symptoms of the disorder include weakness, tingling, and numbness of the legs. The weakness increases in intensity and spreads to the upper extremities. In severe cases, it may lead to total body paralysis and becomes a life-threatening condition. Other common signs that should not be left unattended are bladder dysfunctions, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and unstable blood pressure. Prompt medical attention given to these symptoms ensures the patient higher chances of recovery and prevention of complications.

Guillain Barre Syndrome affects both males and females at any age. It usually occurs weeks after patients experience infections in the gastro-intestinal or respiratory tracts. Doctors sometimes may have difficulty in diagnosing this disorder because of the variety of signs and symptoms. There are also several disorders that consist of the same signs and symptoms with that of Guillain Barre Syndrome, so doctors will need to perform careful and thorough examinations before making any diagnosis and treatment plan.

Therapies and treatments of complications of the disorder are the only management given to patients. Plasma exchange and immunoglobulin therapy are prescribed to lower the severity and duration of symptoms in most cases. These kinds of therapy have been found effective in lessening the immune attack on the nervous system. Steroid therapy has also been tested for treatment, however it was found out that it is not effective as the other therapies and post a harmful effect on the disorder itself. Monitoring of cardiac condition, using of a respirator, and placing a patient in an intensive care unit are some methods of managing and preventing complications of the disorder. Although some patients affected with severe cases of the disorder will have relapses of the muscle weakness years after the first attack, a high percentage of these cases have a high chance of recovery.

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