What is Guillain-Barré?
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a neurological disorder in which our own body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. Its exact cause is unknown, but it has sometimes been seen to occur after a viral infection, such as gastroenteritis or a cold. It can affect people of any age and sex.
In Guillain-Barré syndrome, cells of the immune system begin to attack the myelin sheaths that surround the axons of the nerve fibre and sometimes the axons themselves. Therefore, the nerves cannot transmit signals efficiently, and the muscles begin to lose their ability to respond to the brain’s commands.
Evolution and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome
The onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome symptoms can be sudden or appear over days or weeks. The first symptoms are usually muscle weakness and numbness in the feet or hands, which can rapidly progress to the rest of the body. In the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré, the respiratory muscles may also be affected and artificial respiration may be required.
As for the evolution of Guillain-Barré, it is known that after the appearance of the first symptoms, the condition tends to worsen for about two weeks, reaching a stable phase that lasts between two and four weeks. Then a phase of gradual recovery begins, lasting for months.