Guillain-Barré Syndrome Symptoms
Medical Author: Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FAAEM
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
It takes a celebrity to draw attention to illnesses that often fly under the radar. Such is the case of William "The Fridge" Perry, the Ex-Chicago Bear football player who came to national attention when the team won the Super Bowl with Perry as a defensive star. In 2008, Mr. Perry spent five months in the hospital because of Guillain-Barré syndrome and survived an illness that is a potential killer.
Nobody knows what why Guillain-Barré syndrome occurs. It's an autoimmune diseasein which the body attacks its own tissue; in this disease, the tissue is the myelinthat covers nervefibers and the attack causes failure of those nerves to work. This leads to symptoms that begin with numbness and tingling of the arms or legs and can progress to muscle weakness. The major worry with this condition is that important muscles like those that help us breathe become weak, and respiratoryfailure can occur.