What is it?

Guillain–Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare, autoimmune disorder which causes muscle weakness due to peripheral nervous system damage. Usually, the first symptoms of the disorder are weakness and tingling in the extremities. After the first signs and symptoms, the condition tends to progressively worsen for about two weeks. Then, symptoms spread to the whole body causing weakness and changes in sensation. For some patients, GBS can be life- threatening if weakness of the breathing muscles occurs.. The reason GBS occurs is unknown, but most of the patients have undergone a viral infection, a surgery or received a vaccine in the six weeks preceding. The autoimmune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerve by damaging the myelin sheath, which isolates the electrical impulses of the nerve axons. Most of the patients get better with time and fully recover within 6-12 months. But for some, numbness or other sensation may last. 2%-5% experience a relapse. Complications include breathing difficulties, heart and blood pressure problems, urine retention, blood clots and pressure sores.

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Signs & symptoms

Guillain–Barre Syndrome symptoms vary and may include- prickling, pin and needles sensations in the fingers, toes, ankles or wrists, leg weakness which spreads to the upper body, unsteady walking, impaired facial movements, double vision, inability to move the eyes, pain that worsens at night, bladder control and bowel function difficulties, tachycardia and difficulty breathing.


Guillain–Barre Syndrome diagnosis starts with medical history and physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms of the disorder. Then, a lumbar puncture, an electromyography and nerve conduction studies may be done to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other options.


There is no cure for Guillain–Barre Syndrome but plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy seem to speed recovery and reduce symptoms severity. Physical therapy is also recommended for patients with GBS.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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