Guillain Barre Syndrome

Guillain Barre Syndrome is a condition in which the nerves break down. This is due to an immune reaction following surgery, infection or immunizations.

Have you ever heard of Guillain Barre Syndrome? Guillain Barre Syndrome is a temporary condition which affects the nervous system, the peripheral nerves specically (nerves in the arms and legs). The nerves break down and have damage to them. This is due to a strange immune reaction following surgery, infection or immunizations.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is also called idiopathic polyneuritis. It is an inflammatory disease of the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain and spinal cord) It is characterized by rapid onset of weakness, paralysis of the legs and of the arms, also the face and the breathing muscles. Also, this is a loss of reflexes, such as the knee jerk. There are not very many documented cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and some believe certain individuals are already predisposed, due to genetic defects.

The body has a reaction to it's own tissues, like in an autoimmune disease. The symptoms of this disorder are just muscle weakness, usually beginning with the legs and moving to the arms. There also seems to be much unusual tingling senstation associated with the extremity weakness. Symptoms usually start to appear five days to three weeks after an infection, surgery or immunization. Weakness may worsen until it leads to complete paralysis. The paralysis is only temporary. Although many have heard of this condition, it is uncommon. Diagnosis involves a lumbar puncture to check for elevated fluid protein. Diagnosis also involves an electrical nerve test.

Victims of Guillain-Barre Syndrome require hospitalization and intravenous fluids to avoid dehydration and for physical therapy. The prognosis (outcome of a condition) is fair to good. Most people recover completely after this phenomenon, but it takes several weeks to several months. Approximately one third remain with some permanent weakness for several years later. Studies have shown that there is no permanent damage to nerves long term. The cause is not known although it is suspected to involve viral infections of some type, and oddly, studies have linked victims to having received the 1976 Flu Vaccine.

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