This is because the symptoms are very similar to those of other neurological disorders or conditions that affect the nervous system, such as botulism , meningitis , or heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metal poisoning may be caused by substances such as lead , mercury , and arsenic. Your doctor will ask questions about specific symptoms and your medical history. The following tests are used to help confirm a diagnosis: Spinal tap A spinal tap lumbar puncture involves taking a small amount of fluid from your spine in your lower back. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid. Your cerebrospinal fluid is then tested to detect protein levels.
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It can lead to weakness and paralysis that may last for months or years. Symptoms start within a few days or weeks after the infection. The condition affects around 1 in , people in the United States U. GBS can affect people of any age or either sex, although it is slightly more common in older people and males. The condition usually begins following an infectious disease.
This article will cover the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of GBS. Medical News Today will also investigate connections between this condition, the Zika virus , and vaccinations.
More detail and supporting information is in the main article. The first symptoms of GBS are usually tingling and muscle weakness that begins in the lower extremities. The entire body can eventually become paralyzed. The exact causes are still unknown.
Once they start to occur, the symptoms of GBS tend to develop very rapidly, over a small number of days, usually causing the highest levels of weakness within the first 2 to 3 weeks of symptom onset.
The onset often follows an infection. Most people fully recover within 12 months, but full recovery may take up to 3 years in some cases. Share on Pinterest Guillain-Barre syndrome affects the myelin coating of peripheral nerves.
GBS is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder that can affect any part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord.
This is known as the peripheral nervous system. An autoimmune disease involves the immune system attacking and destroying certain groups of healthy cells.
In the case of GBS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths of peripheral nerves. The myelin sheaths are the coatings on the axons of nerves, and myelin is essential for the speedy carrying of axonal nerve impulses. Axons are the long, thin extensions of nerve cells. In some cases, these are also attacked. As the myelin is damaged, nerves can no longer send certain information to the spinal cord and brain, such as touch sensations.
This causes the sensation of numbness. In addition, the brain and spinal cord are no longer able to transmit signals back to the body, leading to muscle weakness. The disease often begins with tingling sensations and weakness in the feet and legs.
It then slowly spreads upward until a large portion of the body is affected. The nerves connected to the lower extremities are the longest in the body. This travel distance makes these nerves more prone to a break in nerve signals due to GBS and its symptoms. This condition is considered a medical emergency, and an individual should receive medical attention as soon as possible.
Initially, GBS was considered to be a single condition. Now, it is thought to take a number of forms. Typically, the weakness begins in the lower part of the body and gradually ascends to the other body parts.
However, this form of GBS is more prevalent in Asia. Paralysis begins with the eyes, and problems with walking are common.
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