Definition By Mayo Clinic staff Nerve and myelin sheath Guillain-Barre (ghee-YA-buh-RAY) syndrome is a disorder

in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. In its most severe form, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency requiring hospitalization. The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu. Luckily, Guillain-Barre syndrome is uncommon, affecting only 1 or 2 people per 100,000. There's no known cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness. Most people recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome, though some may experience lingering effects from it, such as weakness, numbness or fatigue.

Symptoms By Mayo Clinic staff Guillain-Barre syndrome often begins with tingling and weakness starting in your feet and legs and spreading to your upper body and arms. These symptoms may begin — often not causing much notice — in your fingers and toes. In some people, symptoms begin in the arms or even the face. As the disorder progresses, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis. Signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome may include: Prickling, "pins and needles" sensations in your fingers, toes or both Weakness or tingling sensations in your legs that spread to your upper body Unsteady walking or inability to walk Difficulty with eye movement, facial movement, speaking, chewing or swallowing Severe pain in your lower back Difficulty with bladder control or intestinal functions Rapid heart rate Low or high blood pressure Difficulty breathing Most people with Guillain-Barre syndrome experience their most significant weakness within four weeks after symptoms begin. In some cases, signs and symptoms may progress very rapidly, with complete paralysis of legs, arms and breathing muscles over the course of a few hours. When to see a doctor

the better the chance of a good outcome. causing weakness. In the most common form of Guillain-Barre syndrome in North America. In about 60 percent of cases. an infection affecting either the lungs or the digestive tract precedes the disorder. but you're at greater risk if: You're a young adult You're an older adult Guillain-Barre syndrome may be triggered by: Most commonly. Recent surgery. especially poultry Mycoplasma pneumonia . But scientists don't know why such an infection can lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome for some people and not for others. and this interferes with the signaling process. Seek emergency medical help if you have any of the following severe signs or symptoms: Tingling that started in your feet or toes and is now ascending through your body Tingling or weakness that's spreading rapidly Tingling that involves both your hands and feet Difficulty catching your breath Choking on saliva Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disease that requires immediate hospitalization because of the rapid rate at which it worsens. The sooner appropriate treatment is started. Risk factors By Mayo Clinic staff Guillain-Barre syndrome can affect all age groups. numbness or paralysis. a type of bacteria often found in undercooked food. immunization and pregnancy have also been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome. infection with campylobacter. the nerves' protective covering (myelin sheath) is damaged. In Guillain-Barre syndrome.Call your doctor if you have mild tingling in your toes or fingers that doesn't seem to be spreading or getting worse. your immune system — which usually attacks only foreign material and invading organisms — begins attacking the nerves that carry signals to your brain. Many cases appear to occur without any triggers. Causes By Mayo Clinic staff Nerve and myelin sheath The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown.

Pressure sores. Rarely. Up to half of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome experience neuropathic pain. You may need temporary help from a machine to breathe when you're hospitalized for treatment. Blood clots. full recovery may be slow. However. the virus that causes AIDS Rarely. Residual numbness or other sensations. Bowel and bladder function problems. such as your breathing and cardiovascular functions. Blood pressure fluctuations and cardiac arrhythmias are common side effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome. taking blood thinners and wearing support stockings may be recommended. Being immobile also puts you at risk of developing pressure sores.Surgery Epstein-Barr virus Influenza virus Hodgkin's disease Mononucleosis HIV. death may occur from complications such as respiratory distress syndrome and heart attack. which may be relieved by nonprescription or prescription painkillers. Frequent repositioning may help avoid this problem. Relapse. rabies or influenza immunizations Complications By Mayo Clinic staff Guillain-Barre syndrome affects your nerves and may prompt a domino-like effect on other systems in your body. such as numbness or tingling. Up to 10 percent of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome experience a relapse. Pain. with between 20 and 30 percent of people having an incomplete recovery. often requiring pulse and blood pressure monitoring. Sluggish bowel function and urine retention may result from Guillain-Barre syndrome. A potentially deadly complication of Guillain-Barre syndrome is that the weakness or paralysis can spread to the muscles that control your breathing. Cardiovascular problems. among others. Complications of Guillain-Barre syndrome include: Breathing difficulties. Severe. often taking a year or longer. early symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome significantly increase the risk of serious long-term complications. . Until you're able to walk independently. residual weakness or abnormal sensations. People who are immobile due to Guillain-Barre syndrome are at risk of developing blood clots. or bedsores. Most people with Guillain-Barre syndrome recover completely or have only minor.

including any recent infectious illness or medical procedures you've had. For Guillain-Barre syndrome.Preparing for your appointment By Mayo Clinic staff Call your doctor if you have mild symptoms that might represent Guillain-Barre syndrome. is rapidly spreading. some basic questions to ask your doctor include: What is likely causing my symptoms or condition? Other than the most likely cause. Take a family member or friend along. Take someone who can soak up all the information your doctor provides and who can stay with you if you need immediate treatment. and what to expect from your doctor. and for how long. or is spreading upward Difficulty breathing Choking on saliva Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment. what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition? What kinds of tests do I need? Do I need to be hospitalized? What treatments do I need? How soon do you expect my symptoms will improve with treatment? How fully do you expect I'll recover? How long will recovery take? Am I at risk of long-term complications? . Write down questions to ask your doctor. Prepare a list of questions so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. your doctor may recommend that you seek immediate medical care. Seek emergency medical help if you experience: Tingling or weakness that affects your feet and hands. such as a prickling sensation in your toes or fingers. Write down your key medical information. Also write down all medications you're taking. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency. In some cases. including vaccinations and surgery. It will help your doctor to have as many details as possible about when your symptoms first appeared and how they may have worsened or spread over time. What you can do Write down any symptoms you're experiencing.

don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something. including vaccinations? Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions? Is anyone else you know having similar symptoms? Tests and diagnosis By Mayo Clinic staff Guillain-Barre syndrome can be difficult to diagnose in its earliest stages. Its signs and symptoms are similar to those of other neurological disorders and may vary from person to person. What to expect from your doctor Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions.In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor. The first step in diagnosing Guillain-Barre syndrome is for your doctor to take a careful medical history to fully understand the cluster of signs and symptoms you're experiencing. Being ready to answer them will help your doctor quickly determine next steps in making your diagnosis and starting care. does it affect just one or both sides of your body? Do your symptoms include any problems with bladder or bowel control? Have you had any vision problems? Have you had any difficulty chewing or swallowing? Are you having difficulty breathing? Have you recently had an infectious illness? Have you recently spent time in a forested area? Have you recently traveled abroad? Where? Have you recently had any medical procedures. . Your doctor may ask: What are your symptoms? What parts of your body are affected? When did you first begin experiencing symptoms? Did your symptoms come on gradually or suddenly? Do your symptoms seem to be spreading or getting worse? If your symptoms include weakness.

Treatments and drugs By Mayo Clinic staff Although some people can take months and even years to recover. which manufactures more plasma to make up for what was removed. the condition tends to progressively worsen for about two weeks. Mixing the treatments or administering one after the other is no more effective than using either method alone. . usually lasting six to 12 months. Intravenous immunoglobulin. There's no cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome. High doses of immunoglobulin can block the damaging antibodies that may contribute to Guillain-Barre syndrome. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) This procedure involves withdrawing a small amount of fluid from your spinal canal at your low back (lumbar) level.A spinal tap (lumbar puncture) and nerve function tests are commonly used to help confirm a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Nerve function tests Your doctor may want information from two types of nerve function tests — electromyography and nerve conduction velocity: Electromyography reads electrical activity in your muscles to determine if your weakness is caused by muscle damage or nerve damage." Plasmapheresis consists of removing the liquid portion of your blood (plasma) and separating it from the actual blood cells. Immunoglobulin contains healthy antibodies from blood donors. though for some people it could take as long as three years. It's not clear why this treatment works. Symptoms reach a plateau within four weeks. This treatment — also known as plasma exchange — is a type of "blood cleansing. The blood cells are then put back into your body. but scientists believe that plasmapheresis rids plasma of certain antibodies that contribute to the immune system attack on the peripheral nerves. But two types of treatments may speed recovery and reduce the severity of Guillain-Barre syndrome: Plasmapheresis. Recovery begins. This cerebrospinal fluid is then tested for a specific type of change that commonly occurs in people who have Guillain-Barre syndrome. Nerve conduction studies assess how your nerves and muscles respond to small electrical stimuli. most cases of GuillainBarre syndrome follow this general timeline: Following the first symptoms. These treatments are equally effective.

Ask your doctor or mental health provider to recommend a support group for people and families coping with Guillain-Barre syndrome. such as a wheelchair or braces. And those who do develop these complications must adjust to lasting. you'll likely need physical therapy to help regain strength and proper movement so that you'll be able to function on your own. Coping and support By Mayo Clinic staff The emotional impact of Guillain-Barre syndrome can be devastating. In some cases. limited mobility and dependence on others to help manage daily activities. After recovery has begun. Although most people eventually recover fully. . your therapist may recommend family counseling to help you and your loved ones adjust to the changes caused by Guillain-Barre syndrome. In severe cases. before recovery begins. You may need training with adaptive devices. caregivers may need to manually move your arms and legs to help keep your muscles flexible and strong. to give you mobility and self-care skills. and without warning. You may also benefit from talking with others who have experienced this illness. a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome means confronting the possibility of long-term disability or paralysis. Guillain-Barre syndrome can transform you from healthy and independent to critically ill and physically helpless — suddenly. Talking with a mental health provider can play a critically important role in helping you cope with the mental and emotional strain of this illness.Often.