Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome

Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome is a rare disease that was first described by Jean Landry in 1850. This disease affects about 1 in 100,000. It is a rapid developing disorder that causes paralysis of the muscles. Although this is a serious disease, most patients completely recover. Death is very rare.
The cause of Guillain-Barre’ is generally caused by an acute infection. It starts when an immune response is mistargeted at host nerve tissues. The autoimmune attack on peripheral nerves causes myelin damage, which leads to paralysis. However, about 60% of cases have no known cause. There are studies that suggest the influenza virus may dramatically increase your risks of developing Guillain-Barre’. In 1976, it was thought that the swine flu vaccine might have triggered the onset of this disease in some patients. Since then, no other vaccine has been liked to this disease. 
Guillain-Barre’s symptoms usually start with weakness in the legs. In fact, one of the first things doctors will look for is symmetrical weakness is two or more limbs. The weakness rapidly spreads to upper limbs and face muscles, until there is a complete loss of deep tendon reflexes. This is also known as Areflexia. Drooling or difficulty swallowing may also be noticed.
After a final diagnosis of Guillain-Barre’ a prompt treatment by plasmapheresis, or an IV of immunoglobulins, will be started. There should be constant supportive care with frequent vital readings. Generally, around four weeks after the initial onset of Guillain-Barre’, 80% of patients will have a full recovery. Around 5-10% will recover with severe disabilities. Although uncommon, this disease can lead to spinal cord disorder.

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