Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is a very rare autoimmune disorder. This means that the immune system of your body attacks the nerve system. The main cause for this syndrome is generally unknown but it can be a consequence of an infection of the lungs or stomach flu. The symptoms are numbness and weakness of legs which quickly spread to the upper parts of the body, including the face. At the end this can lead to complete loss of reflexes and paralysis of the entire body. Guillain-Barre syndrome is extremely severe but fortunately only 0.002 per cent of the population is affected by this disorder.
Guillain-Barre syndrome requires a prompt medical care and the patient must remain in the hospital. There are treatments which the patient can relieve the symptoms, shorten the length of the syndrome and in many cases the patient can recuperate entirely.
The symptoms usually start with numbness of the feet and the legs, and the patient is unable to walk. These symptoms then extend to the arms and upper body and up to the face. Some people have experienced Guillain-Barre syndrome which began in the face. As the disorder develops, it extends to the muscle which then causes the paralyses. The symptoms may also begin as the tingling feeling in the toes or fingers. The other symptoms of GBS can be sharp pain in the back, difficulties with moving the eye and the facial muscles, not being able to chew, swallow or speak, problems with the proper function of the bladder and intestines, trouble with breathing, low blood pressure and extremely slow pulse. In some cases these symptoms can gradually develop and the numbness occurs after three weeks, but there are cases when the condition of the patient deteriorates in a matter of hours.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, especially if they are severe and your condition is quickly getting worse, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Adequate and prompt medical treatment is crucial for the positive results.
The cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome does not exist but people can recover completely with the proper treatment. One of the treatments is the exchange of plasma (plasmapheresis). This means that the doctor will take away some plasma (transparent liquid in the blood) and separate it from the blood cells. The cells are then returned to the body. This makes the blood produce extra plasma to compensate the loss. The other treatment is giving immunoglobulin intravenously to prevent the destructive antibodies to progress.