Guillain Barre syndrome muscle weakness

General or Other | Orthopaedics | Guillain Barre syndrome muscle weakness (Disease)


Guillain-Barré syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the bodys immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The onset can be quite sudden and unexpected. The disorder can develop over a few days, or it may take up to several weeks. A person experiences the greatest weakness within the first two weeks after symptoms appear.

The disorder is characterized by symmetrical weakness that usually affects the lower limbs first, and rapidly progresses in an ascending fashion. Patients generally notice weakness in their legs, manifesting as rubbery legs or legs that tend to buckle, with or without dysesthesias (numbness or tingling). As the weakness progresses upward, usually over periods of hours to days, the arms and facial muscles also become affected. Frequently, the lower cranial nerves may be affected, leading to bulbar weakness, oropharyngeal dysphagia (drooling, or difficulty swallowing and/or maintaining an open airway) and respiratory difficulties. Most patients require hospitalization and about 30% require ventilatory assistance for treatment of Type II respiratory failure. Facial weakness is also common.

Causes and Risk factors

The syndrome appears to be triggered by acute viral or bacterial illnesses, such as respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, occurring one to three weeks earlier. The resultant antibodies attack the myelin sheaths that coat the nerve cells, causing paralysis, muscular weakness and strange sensations as the sensory nerves of the skin are affected.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome includes plasmapheresis, immunoglobulins, physical therapy, and mechanical ventilation. ...

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