What is Gulen-Barry Syndrome (GBS)?

 Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease affecting the nervous system. In particular, the sensitivity or efficiency of the body’s peripheral nerves decreases, disrupting the signal exchange between the body and the brain.

As a result of Gulen-Barry syndrome, paralysis of a temporary nature is seen in the body. Sometimes it can lead to premature death along with permanent problems.

This article discusses in detail the causes of Gulen Barrie Syndrome (GBS), who is at higher risk, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, complications, etc.

What causes Gulen-Barry Syndrome (GBS)?

Gullen-Barry Syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s cells (nerves) and causes nerve dysfunction. However, exactly why the immune system behaves this way (the cause of Gulen-Barry syndrome) is unknown. However, some factors are believed to be linked to such abnormal behavior of the body’s immune system. For example: (Mayo Clinic, 2022)

  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Infections of the digestive tract
  • surgery or injury
  • Zika virus
  • Influenza virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Gulen-Barry syndrome can occur in people of any age. However, men are at greater risk than women and people over 50 years of age. People with hepatitis A, B, C, and E, and AIDS patients are also more likely to develop Guillain-Barre syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)?

Nerves control muscles by communicating signals or sensations with the brain. Guillain-Barré syndrome attacks the nerves. And so the symptoms of this disease are nerve and muscle-centric. For example (Cafasso, 2021)

  • Initially, the legs feel tingling and weakness
  • Later this problem started spreading from both legs to both hands
  • Pinching pains in wrists and fingers of hands and feet
  • Difficulty walking and going up and down stairs
  • Facial muscles are affected and there is difficulty in speaking, eating, eye movements etc
  • Severe pain is felt in the hip
  • Urinary incontinence is not controlled
  • Heart rate increases
  • It is difficult to breathe

Paralysis

Treatment of Guillain-Barre syndrome requires urgent hospitalization. Especially if the tingling and weakness in the legs and it is seen gradually spreading to the hands, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Gulen-Barry syndrome in the early stages is very difficult. Because almost similar symptoms are seen in other neurological diseases. To diagnose the disease, the doctor listens to the patient’s mouth and prescribes physical observation and some tests. For example:

 Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Spinal tap (Lumbar puncture): Fluid is collected from the spinal canal with the help of a thin needle and tested in the laboratory. Electromyography: The test is done by inserting fine needle-like electrodes into the muscle to know the activity of the nerve in the muscle. Nerve conduction studies: Electrodes are placed on the skin (where the nerve is) to see how fast the signal can travel through the nerve.

Treatment

In Gulen-Barry syndrome, the immune system produces antibodies that damage the nerves. The aim of treating this disease is to remove the antibodies from the body which is done in two ways. For example:

Plasma Exchange (Plasmapheresis)

Antibodies in the blood are removed with the help of a special device. However, it is a very expensive medical procedure that is available in only a few hospitals in Bangladesh. Eg: Neuroscience Institute, Square Hospital, etc.

Immunoglobulin Therapy

Immunoglobulin is given intravenously to destroy the antibodies (associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome). This method is relatively less expensive

Painkillers can also be taken as prescribed by the doctor to relieve pain and physiotherapy can be taken to restore muscle function.

Complexity

85 percent of patients with this disease recover completely within 6 months to a maximum of 1 year if proper treatment is taken at the right time. Also, the chances of recurrence at a later time are very low.

Complications of this disease due to acute attacks or neglect of timely treatment are:

Severe shortness of breath begins when the lungs and muscles involved in breathing are affected. In such a situation, the patient needs to be kept in the ICU on an urgent basis. Otherwise, the patient may die due to respiratory failure. Mild tingling and weakness in the hands and feet may occur even after recovery. Blood pressure rises, the heartbeat or rhythm becomes irregular and a heart attack can occur. Decreased bladder and rectal function can lead to involuntary urination and defecation. Paralysis can lead to problems such as immobility and blood clots.

Resistance

Gulen-Barry syndrome is not a contagious disease i.e. the disease cannot be spread from one sick person to others. Therefore, the attack of this disease cannot be prevented by following any type of hygiene. In essence, there is no way to prevent Gulen-Barry Syndrome. But the hope is that if a parent or sibling has this complex disease, there is no chance that the child or sibling will have it.

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