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Guillain barre syndrome: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy

Guillain barre syndrome is an auto immune disorder which affects the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is responsible for transmitting signals between brain and other parts of the body. It is a serious disorder wherein the individual’s immune system starts producing antibodies against own peripheral nervous system.

Guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy: Incidence, age and sex

Guillain barre syndrome is a rare disorder seen in approximately 1 in 1 lakh individuals. It can affect individuals of any age group. However middle-aged adults are more susceptible to this inflammatory disorder. The prevalence of this disorder is same in both the sexes.

Signs and symptoms of guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy: Diagnosis

Guillain barre syndrome is characterised by sudden onset of tingling and numbness in arms and legs. This may later spread to the upper part of the body. As the disease progresses, the affected individual may experience abnormal sensations or weakness in the limbs.

This disorder can be diagnosed by a detailed history and neurological examination of affected individual. Certain blood tests may be advised to detect the presence of antibodies against peripheral nervous system.

Causes and prevention of guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy

The exact cause of guillain barre syndrome is not very clear. However, it is known to follow certain infections like respiratory infections or intestinal infections. It may also be associated with Hodgkin’s lymphoma or HIV infection. Very rarely, rabies or swine flu vaccine may lead to this syndrome. Guillain Barre syndrome results from inflammation of peripheral nerves which may cause damage to myelin sheath (covering membrane of nerve), resulting in sluggish transmission of signals.

Guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy: Complications

Guillain barre syndrome, if long standing may result in paralysis of limbs which may be temporary or permanent. Some individuals may have breathing difficulties in later stage of the disorder. This is potentially life threatening and may require hospital care.

Guillain barre syndrome – acute inflammatory polyneuropathy: Treatment

Unfortunately, guillain barre syndrome is an incurable condition. Most of the affected individuals may recover during sometime in future. Certain medications, like steroid hormones can be considered to alleviate the symptoms of Guillain Barre syndrome. Sometimes plasmaheresis or high dose immunoglobulin therapy can be beneficial to the affected individual. Supportive care plays an important role in managing guillain barre syndrome. Individuals with breathing difficulties may need artificial respiratory support in hospital setting. Most of the individuals with guillain barre syndrome recover sooner or later.