Guillain-Barre syndrome: symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment
One of the serious diseases of the neurological nature is Guillain-Barre syndrome, when it changes polarity and begins to kill its own cells. This pathological process leads to vegetative dysfunctions. The disease has a distinct clinical picture, which allows it to identify and proceed with therapy.
Description of the disease
Some pathologies develop in the form of a secondary immune response to the source of infection. They are accompanied by deformation of neurons and impaired nervous regulation. Among such ailments, autoimmune polyneuropathy (Guillain-Barré syndrome, or GBS) is the most severe.
The disease is characterized by numerous inflammatory processes, destruction of a protective layer of nerves of the peripheral system. The result is a rapidly progressive neuropathy, accompanied by paralysis in the muscles of the limbs.The disease usually occurs in an acute form and develops against the background of previous colds or infectious pathologies. With proper treatment increases the chances of a full recovery.
At the beginning of the 20th century, researchers Guillain, Barre, and Shtrol described an unknown until that time disease in French soldiers. The fighters were paralyzed, there was a loss of sensitivity in the limbs. A group of scientists investigated the cerebrospinal fluid in patients. In it, they revealed an elevated protein content, while the number of other cells was normal. On the basis of the protein-cell association, Guillain-Barre syndrome was diagnosed, which differed from other pathologies of the nervous system of a demyelinizing nature in its rapid course and positive prognosis. After 2 months, the soldiers fully recovered.
Subsequently, it turned out that this pathology is not as harmless as the discoverers described it. Approximately 20 years before the disclosure of information about her, the neuropathologist Landry monitored the state of patients with a similar clinical picture. Patients also had paralysis.The rapid development of the pathological process was fatal. Later it became known that the disease diagnosed in French soldiers could also lead to death in the absence of adequate treatment. However, these patients showed a pattern of protein-cell association in the cerebrospinal fluid.
After some time, it was decided to combine the two ailments. They were assigned one name that is still used today - Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Causes of pathology
This disease is known to science for over 100 years. Despite this, all the factors provoking its occurrence have not yet been clarified.
It is assumed that the pathology develops on the background of disorders in the immune system. When an infection penetrates the body of a healthy person, a defensive reaction is triggered and a bitter struggle against viruses and bacteria begins. In the case of this syndrome, immunity perceives neurons as foreign tissues. The immune system begins to destroy the nervous, as a result of which the pathology develops.
Why this kind of malfunction occurs in the work of the body's defenses - a little-studied question.Common start-up factors include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury. Mechanical damage resulting in swelling of the brain or the formation of tumors is especially dangerous.
- Viral infections. The human body is able to cope with many bacteria. With frequent diseases of viral nature or long-term therapy, the immune system begins to weaken. The prolonged treatment and use of potent antibiotics increases the risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- Hereditary predisposition. If this pathology has already been encountered by close relatives of the patient, it automatically falls into the risk group. Mild injuries and infectious diseases can act as a source of illness.
Other reasons are also possible. The syndrome is diagnosed in people with allergies, undergoing chemotherapy or complex surgery.
What symptoms indicate a disease?
Guillain-Barre neuropathology is distinguished by the symptomatology of the three forms of the disease:
- Acute when the symptoms appear within a few days.
- Subacute, when the pathology "swings" from 15 to 20 days.
- Chronic.Due to the inability to make a diagnosis in time and prevent the development of serious complications, this form is considered the most dangerous.
The primary symptoms of the syndrome resemble a viral respiratory infection. The patient has a fever, weakness appears in the whole body, the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed. In some cases, the onset of pathology is accompanied by gastrointestinal disorders.
Also, doctors emit other symptoms that allow to distinguish Guillain-Barre syndrome from ARVI.
- Limb weakness Deformed nerve cells provoke a decrease or complete loss of muscle tissue sensitivity. Initially, discomfort appears in the shin area, then discomfort spreads to the feet and hands. The aching pain is replaced by numbness. A person gradually loses control and coordination during the execution of simple actions (cannot hold a plug, write with a pen).
- An increase in the size of the abdomen is another sign of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Photos of patients with such a diagnosis are presented in the materials of this article. The patient is forced to rebuild his breath from the top to the abdominal type.As a result, the stomach grows in size and bulges strongly forward.
- Difficult swallowing. Muscles that are weakened every day interfere with the performance of the swallowing reflex. It becomes more difficult for a person to eat, he can choke on his own saliva.
This pathology as it develops affects all systems of internal organs. Therefore, attacks of tachycardia, visual impairment and other symptoms of body dysfunction are not excluded.
Clinical course of the disease
During this pathology, doctors distinguish three stages: prodromal, height and outcome. The first is characterized by general malaise, a slight fever and muscle pain. During the height of the crisis, all the symptoms characteristic of the syndrome are observed, which as a result reach their peak. The outcome stage is characterized by the complete absence of any signs of infection, but is manifested by neurological disorders. Pathology ends or the restoration of all functions, or complete disability.
Depending on the prevailing clinical symptom, Guillain-Barre syndrome is classified into several forms.
The first three are manifested by muscle weakness:
- Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. This is the classic form of the disease that occurs most often.
- Acute motor axonal neuropathy. During the study of the conduction of nerve impulses, signs of damage to axons are revealed, due to which they are powered.
- Acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy. When examining, in addition to the destruction of axons, symptoms of muscle weakness are identified.
Allocate another form of this disease, which differs in its clinical manifestations (Miller-Fisher syndrome). Pathology is characterized by double vision, cerebellar disorders.
The diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome begins with questioning the patient, clarifying symptoms and taking history. This disease is characterized by bilateral lesion of the limbs and the preservation of the functions of the pelvic organs. Of course, there are atypical symptoms, so a number of additional studies are required for differential diagnosis:
- Electromyography (assessment of the speed of movement of pulses along the nerve fibers).
- Spinal puncture (analysis, with which you can identify protein in the cerebrospinal fluid).
- Blood test.
It is important to differentiate the disease with oncological processes, encephalitis and botulism.
What is dangerous Guillain-Barre syndrome?
Symptoms and treatment of pathology can vary, but the lack of therapy always leads to serious complications. The disease is characterized by gradual development. Only the appearance of weakness in the limbs causes the patient to seek help from a doctor. Usually it takes 1-2 weeks to this point.
Such a period of time allows you to consult with doctors and pass the necessary examination. On the other hand, it threatens with an incorrect diagnosis and complicated treatment in the future. Symptoms appear very slowly, often perceived as the beginning of a different pathology.
In the acute course, the syndrome develops so rapidly that in a day a person can be paralyzed a large part of the body. Then tingling and weakness spread to the shoulders, back. The longer the patient lingers and postpones the visit to the doctor, the higher the likelihood that the paralysis will stay with him forever.
GBS Treatment Methods
It is important to hospitalize the patient in a timely manner, since in some cases Guillain-Barre syndrome is fast and can lead to serious consequences. The patient's condition is kept under constant control, in case of deterioration, they are connected to an artificial ventilation apparatus.
If the patient is lying down, care must be taken to prevent bedsores. Various physiotherapeutic procedures help protect against muscular atrophy.
In case of stagnation processes in the body, urinary bladder catheterization is used to drain urine. For the prevention of venous thrombosis prescribe "Heparin".
Intravenous administration of Immunoglobulin and plasmapheresis is a specific treatment option. Plasma replacement is a procedure during which the liquid portion of the blood is released and replaced with saline water (saline). Intravenous administration of "Immunoglobulin" allows you to strengthen the body's defenses, which helps him to more actively fight the disease. Both treatment options are particularly effective in the initial stage of the development of the syndrome.
Rehabilitation after treatment
This disease causes irreparable damage not only to nerve cells, but also to the surrounding muscles. During the rehabilitation period, the patient has to re-learn to hold a spoon in his hand, walk and perform other activities necessary for a full existence. To restore muscle activity, traditional treatment is applied (physiotherapy, electrophoresis, massage, exercise therapy, paraffin application).
During rehabilitation, a healthy diet and vitamin therapy are recommended to compensate for the deficit of micro and macro elements. Patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, the symptoms of which are described in this article, are registered by a neurologist. They should periodically undergo a prophylactic examination, the main task of which is to previously identify the prerequisites for relapse.
Forecast and consequences
For complete recovery of the body usually takes from 3 to 6 months. Do not expect a quick return to the usual rhythm of life. Many patients have long-term effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The disease affects the sensitivity of the fingers and toes.
In approximately 80% of cases, previously lost functions are returned. Only 3% of patients remain disabled. Death is usually caused by the lack of adequate therapy as a result of the development of heart failure or arrhythmia.
Specific methods for the prevention of this disease has not been developed. General recommendations include the abandonment of harmful habits, a balanced diet, an active lifestyle and timely treatment of all pathologies.
Let's sum up
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disease characterized by muscle weakness and areflexia. It develops on the background of nerve damage as a result of an autoimmune attack. This means that the body's defenses perceive their own tissues as foreign and form antibodies against the membranes of their own cells.
The disease has its own characteristic symptoms, which allows time to recognize the disease and begin therapy. Otherwise, the likelihood of the development of vegetative dysfunctions and paralysis increases.