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What is GBS? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

What is GBS? It’s a question many people have but don’t know the answer to. GBS is extremely rare. Every year, approximately 3,000 to 6,000 people in the United States develop GBS, regardless of whether they received a vaccination – that is, one to two people out of every 100,000. 

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare condition in which the immune system attacks your nerves and refers to the group of neurological disorders​​. The first symptoms are usually weakness and tingling in your hands and feet. These sensations can quickly spread, paralyzing your entire body.

In this article, we will discuss all aspects of GBS, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment. Keep reading to learn more!

What Are the Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

What are the symptoms of Guillain barre syndrome

The symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) can vary from person to person. In some cases, the first symptom may be a tingling or numbness in the extremities, which can spread to the entire body. 

Other common symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness.
  • Loss of reflexes.
  • Paralysis.
  • Difficulty breathing.

These symptoms usually develop over a period of days or weeks. In severe cases, GBS can lead to respiratory failure and even death. 

Therefore, if you experience these symptoms, you need to see a doctor urgently. Timely assistance and the correct diagnosis can help or alleviate the suffering from the condition.

What Are the Causes of GBS?

The cause of GBS is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by an infection or another event that leads to an abnormal immune response. In most cases, GBS occurs a few days or weeks after a person has had a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. Other possible triggers include:

  • Bacterial infections, such as campylobacteriosis or cytomegalovirus infection.
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Physical trauma, such as a car accident or surgery.

What Are the Complications of GBS?

Almost every disease has its development, which significantly complicates the life of any patient. Most often, this development is called a complication. Often one condition can lead to other diseases and develop into worse scenarios like death. That is why it is essential to prevent this and treat the disease as soon as possible.

In severe cases, GBS can lead to complications, such as:

  • Respiratory failure.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Blood clots.
  • Kidney failure.

GBS can also lead to death in some cases. However, most people with GBS recover fully within a few weeks to a few months.

What Are the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Types?

There are two types of GBS: acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP) and Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS). AIDP is the most common form of GBS, while MFS is a less common but more severe form.

AIDP affects the myelin sheath, the protective covering surrounding nerves. This damage causes a loss of nerve function and leads to the symptoms of GBS. Miller Fisher syndrome affects the nerves that control muscle movement. This leads to paralysis and other serious complications.

Which type of GBS you have will determine your symptoms and treatment options. In most cases, people with AIDP recover completely, while people with MFS may have long-term effects.

If you think you may have GBS, it is vital to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the prognosis.

How Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome Treated?

How is guillain barre syndrome treated

There are treatments for Guillain Barre syndrome that can help reduce symptoms and speed up recovery. The most common treatment is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a blood product containing antibodies that help fight infection. Other treatments include:

  • Physical therapy can help you keep your muscle strength and function.
  • Occupational therapy to assist with daily activities.
  • Speech therapy can assist with communication and swallowing issues.
  • Plasmapheresis is a blood removal procedure that removes abnormal antibodies.

In most cases, people with GBS make a full recovery within a few weeks to a few months. However, some people may have long-term effects, such as muscle weakness or paralysis.

How Is GBS Diagnosed?

GBS is typically diagnosed based on the symptoms a person is experiencing. 

A doctor may order tests, such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, a biopsy of the nerves may also be done.

The further treatment of the patient and the success of recovery after the disease depend on the correct diagnosis. That is why it is vital to seek help from professional clinics that can provide the patient with the necessary services.

Prevention of GBS

There is no known way to prevent GBS. However, properly treating infections may help reduce the risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome. 

Although this disease cannot be prevented in any way and its development does not depend on our actions, you can alleviate your condition with the right therapy.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Life Expectancy

The prognosis for people with GBS is generally good. Most people fully recover within a few weeks to a few months.

However, some people may have long-term effects, such as muscle weakness or paralysis. In rare cases, the syndrome GBS can lead to death.

Many people simultaneously want and do not want to hear their approximate prognosis with the disease. This is because some diseases are guaranteed to lead to death, and the prognosis can get a person into depression. However, fortunately, with this disease, everything is different.

Bottom Line 

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that affects the nervous system. It is caused by an abnormal immune response, which damages the nerves and leads to muscle weakness and paralysis. There is no specific cure for GBS, but there are treatments that can help reduce symptoms and speed up recovery. Most people with GBS make a full recovery within a few weeks to a few months. However, some people may have long-term effects, such as muscle weakness or paralysis. If you think you may have GBS, it is important to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the prognosis.

And for you to receive only timely and professional help, you need to turn to a quality clinic for help. Thus, our clinic has been treating and diagnosing neurological diseases for many years, and each of our doctors has extensive experience of over 10 years of practice. For assistance, please call 214-619-1910 number or use the contact us button.

FAQ

  • Does Guillain-Barré syndrome go away?

Most people with Guillain-Barre syndrome will recover from their symptoms in 6 to 12 months. However, full recovery from the nerve damage caused by syndrome can take several months to several years.

  • Does Guillain-Barre come on suddenly?

GBS can strike suddenly and unexpectedly, necessitating immediate hospitalization. It can develop in days or weeks, with the most significant weakness occurring within the first couple weeks after symptoms appear.

  • Is Covid 19 linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been linked to various neurological complications, the most significant of which is Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).

  • How do you test for Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Electromyography (EMG) entails inserting tiny needles into your muscles and recording electrical activity to see how they react when nearby nerves are stimulated.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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