Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Related To Category : Adult

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)?

Guillain-Barré syndrome (say “ghee-YAN bah-RAY”) is a problem with your nervous system. It causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, and numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, face, and other parts of your body.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) can cause paralysis and lead to death. But most people get better and have few lasting problems.

GBS is rare.

What causes Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Experts don’t know what causes GBS. They think that the nerves are attacked by your body’s own defense system (the immune system). This is called an autoimmune disease.

In GBS, the immune system attacks the covering (myelin sheath) of certain nerves. This causes nerve damage.

What infections may trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome?

GBS usually begins to affect the nerves after you’ve had a viral or bacterial infection. Often it is after an infection of the lungs or stomach and intestines.

Infections that may trigger GBS include:

Campylobacter jejuni, which can cause a type of food poisoning.
Mycoplasma , which can cause pneumonia.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause fever, chills, sore throat, swollen glands, body aches, and fatigue.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which can cause mononucleosis (mono).
Varicella-zoster virus, which can cause chickenpox and shingles.
What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of GBS include:

Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet and sometimes around the mouth and lips.
Muscle weakness in your legs and arms and the sides of your face.
Trouble speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
Not being able to move your eyes.
Back pain.
Symptoms usually start with numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes. Over days to weeks, muscle weakness in the legs and arms develops. After about 4 weeks, most people begin to get better.

You may need to be treated in the hospital for the first few weeks. This is because GBS can be deadly if weakness spreads to muscles that control breathing, heart rate, andblood pressure.