Recognize Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

Edited by Maureen D., Anonymous, Eng, Lynn

GBS - aeshma.PNG

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)? It is a rare medical condition that involves the central nervous system. Most of the people who are afflicted with this get better, but it could cause paralysis and death as well. This condition is uncommon and affects only two people out of 100,000.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

There is no known cure for this condition but there are a lot of treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms and decrease the duration of GBS, like plasmapheresis and gammaglobulin infusions. Most of the people that recover from it still have lingering effects, such as fatigue, weakness and numbness. Recovery may take about half a year up to two years or even more.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Ad

What does it do to the body?

  1. 1
    Causes muscle weakness
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Loss of reflexes
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Numbness in the body
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Tingling sensations in limbs, face, and other parts of the body
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

What causes this condition?

Up to this point, experts still do not know what causes Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). But it is suspected that the syndrome involves our body's own defense system attacking the nerves, which is called an autoimmune disease. GBS attacks the Myelin Sheath (covering) of some particular nerves and causes nerves damages eventually.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Infections that trigger GBS

It usually begins in the nerves that have been infected with bacterial or viral infections in the past.

  • Campylobacter jejuni - can cause food poisoning
  • Mycoplasma - this infection can cause pneumonia
  • Cytomegalovirus - causes fever, sore throat, chills, body aches, swollen glands, and fatigue
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)- causes mononucleosis
  • Varicella-zoster virus - can cause shingles and chickenpox
Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Symptoms

  1. 1
    Not being able to move your eyes (the infected person will not be able to close his/her eyes by him/herself)
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Back and muscle pain
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Jerky and uncoordinated movements
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Numbness in hands and feet as well as around the mouth area
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Muscle weakness in the legs, arms and sides of the face
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Cramps
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Buzzing or crawling sensations on the skin
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  8. 8
    Dizziness and blurred vision
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  9. 9
    Breathing, speaking, swallowing and chewing troubles.
    The person with GBS is fed through an NGT, or a nasogastric tube.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  10. 10
    The most significant symptom of GBS is legs and arms getting weaker, as well as losing reflexes.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Fatal complications of GBS

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Pneumonia

The usual symptoms onset will be tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes. And when the time comes, arm and leg muscle weakness will develop. If this is the case, you will need to get medical assistance. When the weakness develops and reaches the muscles that control the breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, it could be fatal.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How is GBS diagnosed?

  1. 1
    Your physician will be asking when the symptoms, when they started and anything you have done differently.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Also, the physician will ask if there were any recent infections.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Lumbar puncture tests will be conducted for further diagnosis, as well as nerve conduction study
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Spinal tap
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Muscle strength tests
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Reflex test (knee jerk reaction)
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Blood tests
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

GBS treating

GBS is usually treated in a hospital or even an ICU depending on the conditions' severity. There are possible lifelong complications which include but are not limited to:

  1. 1
    Being unable to walk without any aid or wheelchair
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Sensory Ataxia or loss of sensation
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Balance loss
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Dysaesthesia – sense of touch issue, usually characterized by a burning or tingling sensation
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

    Advertisement

Comments

VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.




Aeshma
Premier Author
14 Articles Started
445 Article Edits
12,450 Points
Aeshma is a premier author with VisiHow. Aeshma has achieved the level of "Gunnery Sergeant" with 12,450 points. Aeshma has started 14 articles (including this one) and has also made 445 article edits. 36,100 people have read Aeshma's article contributions.
Aeshma's Message Board
Aeshma: Hi, my name is Aeshma.
Aeshma: Can I help you with your problem about "Recognize Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)"?
 

Article Info

Categories : Noindexed pages | Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Eng, Anonymous, Maureen D.

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,067 times.

Do you have a question not answered in this article?
Click here to ask one of the writers of this article
x

Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No