What is Guillain Barré Syndrome?
Guillain Barré Syndrome is a serious health problem. It occurs when the body’s immune system (defense system) mistakenly attacks the nervous system. This leads to nerve damage and inflammation. The syndrome affects the nerve sheath (myelin sheath), called demyelination, and causes nerve signals to move more slowly. If other parts of the nerve are damaged, it may stop functioning.
It is usually classified into four types:
- “Classic” Guillain Barré syndrome or acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.
- Acute motor axonal neuropathy.
- Acute sensory motor axonal neuropathy.
- Miller-Fisher syndrome (MFS).
What are the symptoms of Guillain Barré syndrome?
The main symptoms are:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of reflexes in arms and legs
- Incoordination of movements
- Abnormal heart rate
- Muscle pain or tenderness
On the other hand, more serious symptoms that require immediate medical help are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Not being able to take a deep breath
- Feeling dizzy when standing up
What causes Guillain-Barré syndrome?
The exact causes of the syndrome are unknown. It can occur in both sexes, being more frequent between the ages of 30 and 50. In addition, it may occur along with viral or bacterial infections, such as:
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Microplasma pneumonia
- HIV (very rare cases)
- Herpes simplex
- Lupus erythematosus
- Hodgkin’s disease
- After surgery
What is the treatment of Guillain Barré Syndrome?
Although there is no cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome, treatment is aimed at treating complications and speeding recovery. Depending on the severity of the disease, different treatments will be given.
Given the autoimmune nature of the disease, in the acute phase it is usually treated with immunotherapy, apheresis or plasmapheresis, which involves removing and blocking the proteins (called antibodies) that attack nerve cells, or intravenous immunoglobulin are the main treatments to reduce the infection.
In case of persistent muscle weakness after the acute phase of the disease, patients may need rehabilitation to strengthen the musculature and restore movement.
Which specialist treats it?
The Immunology specialist is the expert who could treat this pathology.