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Guillain-Barre

Overview

A disorder involving progressive muscle weakness or paralysis, usually following an infectious illness. It is related toinflammation of multiple nerves. Guillain-Barre syndrome is an acute type of nerve inflammation. The inflammation damages portions of the nerve cell,resulting in muscle weakness or paralysis . The damage usually includes loss of the myelin sheath of the nerve (demyelination),which slows conduction of impulses through the nerve. The damage may also include destruction of the axon part of the nervecell (denervation), which blocks conduction through the nerve.


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Causes

The exact cause of this disorder is not known. It usually follows a minor infection, usually a respiratory (lung) infection orgastrointestinal (gut) infection. The signs of the infection usually have disappeared before the signs of Guillain-Barre begin.Guillain-Barre syndrome affects approximately 8 out of 100,000 people. It may occur at any age but is most common in peopleof both sexes between the ages 30 and 50.Other factors with Guillain-Barre syndrome include AIDS or AIDS-related complex, Mycoplasma infection, measles, herpessimplex, or other viral infection, major surgery within the past 6 weeks, systemic lupus erythematosus, Hodgkin's disease, othermalignant diseases, and vaccines such as the antirabies vaccine and the swine flu vaccine.


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Signs & Symptoms

The disorder progresses rapidly (from days to about 1 month). Weakness and paralysis usually develop in a symmetricalmanner from the feet and legs upward through the body, and is referred to as ascending paralysis. As paralysis reaches the levelof the chest, the patient may require assisted ventilation in order to breathe. Movement and sensation changes occursimultaneously.There is an initial phase of rapid symptom development that usually lasts for up to 3 weeks. This is followed by a plateau phaseof no changes, then a recovery phase where symptoms improve. The recovery phase may last 4 to 6 months or longer.Typical symptoms include:- muscle weakness or paralysis (the most common symptom) or uncoordinated movements- weakness begins in the feet and legs and may progress upward to the arms and cranial (head) nerves- may progress rapidly over 24 to 72 hours- may begin in the arms and progress downward- may occur in the arms and legs at the same time- may occur in the cranial nerves only- may not occur (mild cases)- sensation changes- numbness, decreased sensation- tenderness or muscle pain (may be a cramp-like pain)- usually accompanies or precedes muscle weakness- may not occur at allAdditional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:- blurred vision- difficulty moving face muscles- dizziness- palpitations (sensation of feeling heartbeat)

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Prevention

There is no known prevention for this disease.


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Treatments
Plasmapherisis Modern Medicine

No specific treatment is available for this condition, but physicians feel certain treatments if administered early help in slowing down the progress of disease, speed up the recovery.

Most of the patients with GBS are treated with

Plasmapherisis includes filtering the blood to remove plasma and is replaced by albumin solution or artificial substance

Immunoglobins Modern Medicine

Large doses of immunoglobin are given intravenously to shorten the duration of symptoms

Medication Modern Medicine

Medication administration is done for muscles and joint pains. Muscle relaxants, Pain killers are used for joint pains and muscle spasm

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