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Guillain-Barré syndrome: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that affects the nervous system mistakenly attacking him, which produces an inflammation of the nerves that can lead to progressive muscle weakness and paralysis in the body’s muscles.

It is a severe condition with a low incidence worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that annual cases range to a maximum of 4 per 100,000 people; however, in areas affected by the Zika virus, there has been an alarming growth in patients with this syndrome, which is why the WHO warns about the relationship between both pathologies. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome and its relationship with Zika.

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

This Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when our immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system of our body. This condition produces an acute inflammatory neuropathy in which the nerves become inflamed, causing muscle weakness and, in most cases, paralysis. The inflammation begins in the nerves of the legs and progressively progresses to other areas of the body.

In more severe cases, paralysis can affect the respiratory or cardiac muscles, a condition that would put the patient in danger of death. This syndrome is considered of significant severity, so immediate medical attention is essential to prevent its progression and ensure patient improvement.

Causes of Guillain-Barré syndrome

Due to its nature as an autoimmune condition, the exact cause that produces the appearance of Guillain-Barré syndrome is unknown. However, a relationship has been established between some viral and bacterial infections and the formation of this condition. This syndrome is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50 and can occur due to diseases such as:

  • It influences her.
  • It’s a virus.
  • VIH.
  • Mononucleosis.
  • Herpes simplex virus.
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia.

This condition has also occurred in patients with Lupus primates and Hodgkin’s disease. It is important to remember that, although a relationship has been seen between the conditions above and the cases of this syndrome, the origin of this body’s autoimmune response has not yet been established.

Relationship of this syndrome with the zika virus

According to WHO data, Guillain-Barré syndrome is a severe condition that does not occur very frequently worldwide. Its incidence was close to 4 cases per 100,000 people; however, the recent outbreaks of the Zika virus that began in French Polynesia in 2013 and later in 2015 in various Latin American countries have been accompanied not only by an increase in the births of babies with microcephaly but also an increase in the cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, for which a clear relationship has been established between both conditions.

The Zika virus is an infection similar to dengue or chikungunya, produced by the infected bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. In most cases, this condition is asymptomatic. However, various later complications have been related to it, such as the birth of babies with microcephaly in mothers infected with the virus during pregnancy or the appearance of this syndrome in patients. who have suffered from this infection. These reasons have allowed the WHO and the various health authorities of the affected countries to alert the population about the importance of preventing mosquito bites and avoiding the proliferation of these insects in their environment.

The countries that have reported a significant increase in cases of this Zika-related autoimmune disorder are Brazil, Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, San Martín Surinam, and Venezuela.

Symptoms of this condition

Guillain-Barré syndrome progresses rapidly, so symptoms can worsen within hours, leading to muscle wasting and paralysis. The most common signs of this condition are:

  • Muscle weakness on both sides of the body begins in the legs and usually progresses later to the arms.
  • Loss of reflexes in the arms and legs.
  • Tingling sensation.
  • Muscle numbness
  • Cramp-like pain.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rate and difficulty breathing or swallowing are emergency symptoms that indicate that the lung or heart muscles could be affected. In this case, immediate medical attention is required.

Muscle weakness and paralysis are vital warning signs, so call a healthcare center immediately, especially if you have recently had any dangerous infections listed above.

Guillain-Barré syndrome treatment

This condition has no cure. Therefore, the treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome should focus on improving symptoms and reducing possible complications, which can help the patient recover favorably.

Usually, the treatment consists of blocking the antibodies that attack the nerve cells, thus preventing the progression of the disease and helping the nerves regain their strength. In parallel, treatments can be applied to reduce inflammation of the nerves and reduce possible complications that put the patient’s life at risks, such as muscle weakness in the lungs or the heart.

In general, terms, mainly when it is attended on time, the prognosis for recovery is favorable. Usually, the patient improves in a few weeks. However certain cases can take months or years, it depends on the condition of each person, so medical supervision is recommended throughout the process.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Guillain-Barré Syndrome: causes, symptoms, and treatment , we recommend entering our Immune System category .

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