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Guillain-Barre Syndrome (cont.)

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Symptoms

  • Weakness on both sides of the body may develop with numbness that starts in the legs and progresses into the trunk and moves upward to the arms and neck.
  • Muscles that are controlled by nerves in the head may be involved. Muscle weakness near the involved nerves can be the most prominent sign.
  • Deep tendon reflexes are decreased or absent.
  • People can have weakness of facial muscles and some muscles in the throat.
  • Some may have respiratory failure due to muscle weakness. These people need to have a breathing tube put in and be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe. Five percent of people die from respiratory failure.
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), sweating, facial flushing, and variable blood pressure are signs the nervous system is affected.
  • The severity of symptoms peaks by the second or third week.
  • In certain forms of Guillain-Barre syndrome, people have weakness of eye muscles or unsteady gait. These symptoms overlap other syndromes such as botulism, thiamine deficiency, and myasthenia gravis. It is important to rule out other causes for these symptoms.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/23/2014
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