Mystery of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome or SGB is often also called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP). Or in another language, an acute inflammation that causes damage to nerve cells, which is not clear why.

The disease can affect anyone. No one can predict its arrival, the progress, until the level of severity. Never happened, neurologist had died of disease in this syndrome.

Georges Guillain, Jean Alexandre Barré, and Strohl André discovered the syndrome in 1916. They diagnose the two soldiers who showed abnormality in increased production of spinal fluid protein.

Currently SGB diagnosis can be done by analyzing cerebrospinal fluid. The increase in the number of white blood cells in cerebrospinal fluid indicate the occurrence of infection. In addition, can also be done with electrodiagnostic, ie by checking normal or not conduction of nerve cells.

The incidence of SGB is small, 1:100,000. For some patients, there can be cured.

The Cause Remains Unclear

Until now the cause of autoimmune disease is still unknown. Likewise the trigger.

Typically, when the body are infected by virus, bacteria or disease. The body produces antibodies against antigens (substances that damage the body). In the case of SGB, the antibodies would be evil and attack the peripheral nerve system. Myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells were destroyed (demyelinasi) so that the damaged nerve cells. Damage starting from the base to the edge or from bottom to top.

The damage it causes paralysis of the motor and cause a disturbance of sensibility in patients. If damage occurs to the base of the nerve (root), can cause abnormalities in the spinal cord.

Guillain Barre Syndrome

In another autoimmune disease, a similar attack happened, but at a different location. However, the mechanism of occurrence also can not be understood: in fact antibodies attack the body. The case of multiple sclerosis, for example, occurs  demyelinasi in the central nervous. As in myasthenia, antibodies damage the relationship between nerve and muscle.

Paralysis on SGB typically occurs from bottom to top part of the body or from the outside in gradually. It was unpredictable. In some cases, paralysis occurs very rapidly and in other cases it happens more slowly.

In severe cases damage to the myelin membranes to reach the lungs and weaken respiratory muscles . The lungs were unable to work and the patient should be assisted with a ventilator.

With these weaknesses, it is very possible to be infection in the lungs because reduced ability and capability  to exchange gas in the respiratory tract. That’s what causes the condition of the patient is getting worse

Other symptoms are felt by SGB sufferers loss of sensitivity, such as tingling, numbness, burning, or pain. Spreading pattern of irregular and asymmetrical, can change at any time.

No infection

This syndrome, like other autoimmune diseases, including self remittance disease. Actually, patients can recover by itself within a period of approximately six months. With notes, there is no infection in the patient’s body.

Treatment of SGB is usually performed in patients with plasma exchange, similar action with dialysis, by changing the blood plasma using a tool called plasmapheresis. It can help people to survive or achieve better conditions. However, not all hospitals have this tool.

Another alternative is by giving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for five days of high doses to boost immunity. However, these drugs are not cheap, even classified as very expensive, and not all patients can afford.

There is one more way that is possible, ie with high dose corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are usually given as an anti-inflammatory. Although in much of the literature mentioned corticosteroids can not give meaningful effect, in some cases, it can help.

For those who successfully recovered, SGB still leaving weakness for the body functions. Therefore, the nerve cell is a network of the most “stupid” so that when damaged can no longer return to normal by itself.

Patients who recover from SGB must undergo therapy and regular exercise to be able to move back to his limbs, such as walking, eating, talking, or writing. After a year or more, 85 percent of patients can return to normal.

This Disease can be so evil and can not be prevented. However, if it can be detected as early as possible and get treatment more quickly, the possibility of recovery could be greater.

Therefore, be careful and look at any symptoms appear. Therefore, this syndrome included in the acute inflammatory, occurs suddenly and inflamed in a very fast.