Guillain-Barré Syndrome [gee-YAH-buh-RAY] is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system—the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord.
Weakness and tingling in extremities are the typical first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing the whole body. In its most severe form, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a medical emergency. Most people with the condition must be hospitalized to receive treatment. Fortunately, most people eventually recover from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).
Once thought to be a single disorder, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is now known to occur in several forms. The main types are:
For more information visit the GBS | CIDP Foundation International is a global nonprofit organization supporting individuals and their families affected by Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and related conditions through a commitment to support, education, research and advocacy.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome often begins with tingling and weakness starting in your feet and legs and spreading to your upper body and arms. In nearly half of those with GBS symptoms begin in the arms or face.
Additional Guillain-Barre Syndrome symptoms may include:
The exact cause of Guillain-Barre Syndrome is unknown. It is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu. 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.
In addition to reviewing medical history and completing a thorough physical examination. Your doctor may order the following tests:
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