Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. This is a type of autoimmune condition.

Early signs and symptoms of early Guillain-Barré syndrome include weakness or tingling and burning sensations in the legs. These may with time spread to the arms and upper body, gradually increasing in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all. In severe cases, the affected individual is almost totally paralyzed. Associated symptoms and signs can include shortness of breath, facial muscle weakness, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, problems with coordination, and gait disturbances.

Cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome

The cause of the autoimmune reaction in Guillain-Barré syndrome is not well understood. In some cases, it is preceded by a viral or bacterial infection.

Other Causes of Guillain-Barre Syndrome Symptoms and Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.