Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is a disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. The immune system attacks the body’s peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS connects the spinal cord and the brain. It is difficult to send signals all over the body if the PNS is damaged.
- The first symptom is body weakness and a tingling sensation in the legs. This feeling can spread all over your body.
- This is a life-threatening condition. For example, the patient might be having difficulty in breathing.
- In severe cases, patients experience an almost paralyzed state.
- Factors that may trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome are:
- Recent surgery
- Weeks after digestive or respiratory tract infection
- Zika virus infection
- COVID-19 virus infection
- Most common in men who are 50 years old
1. Signs and Symptoms
- Prickling sensations: Usually felt in the wrists, fingers, toes, and ankles
- Weakness: May start on the legs and spreads to the upper part of the body
- Loss of muscle control: This loss of muscle control is felt in the lower part of the body. There is unsteadiness when walking or an inability to walk up and down the stairs
- Difficulty in using the facial muscles: difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or chewing
- Double vision
- Pain: the patient may feel severe pain that worsens at night. Characteristics of pain may be achy, shooting, or cramp-like
- Bladder and bowel control may be difficult
- Fast heart rate
- Blood pressure could be high or low
- Breathing is difficult: this is life-threatening
Patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome may experience sudden weakness. This occurs two weeks after the onset of the first symptom.
2. The Main Types of Guillain-Barré Syndrome:
- Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP): this is most common in areas such as Europe or North America. Symptoms may start as a weakness in the lower part of the body. This symptom may spread to the upper part of the body.
- Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS): this is common in Asia. The symptom may start as paralysis of the eyes.
- Acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN) and acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN): This type is most frequent in Japan, China, and Mexico.
3. Risk Factors
- Infections caused by bacteria called Campylobacter: a bacteria found in uncooked poultry meat
- Influenza virus
- Epstein Barr virus
- Hepatitis A, B, C, and E
- Mycoplasma Pneumonia
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Childhood vaccinations: very rare cases
- COVID-19 vaccine