Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The medical problem called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare and uncommon disorder which causes the immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system or the PNS in short. The Whole body depends on the spinal cord and the spinal cord relies on the PNS nerves and brains to transmit signals and commands. Damage to these nerves effects in the transmission of signals which results in the muscles having trouble in responding to the brain and causes paralysis in the lower body area which gradually moves towards the upper limb and face. In the long run, the patient loses all the reflexes and the whole body becomes paralyzed.
No matter whatever scientific advancements we have had, the causes of this syndrome are not known. What scientists only know is that the immune system starts to attack the body itself. It is called a syndrome instead of disease as the scientific disease-causing agent involved is not known.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be quite a devastating disorder because of its sudden and fast onset. The stage of greatest weakness can be felt within the first two weeks after the symptoms are seen. In some cases 90% of the body is affected immediately by the third week. It may take a few weeks or years to be relieved, but most patients still have a residual weakness even after three years.
This syndrome can be a life-threatening disorder if timely medical treatment is not given. Although it may be fatal and complicated, there are many symptoms and signs to detect the disorder in the beginning. The primary result of this syndrome is minor paralysis including loss of appetite, stomach ache, migraines, low fevers and chills. Some patients also feel regular exhaustion, tiredness, loss of energy and pain, which is similar to the one you get after exercises or hard labor.
Studies and researches are still going on, but as for now, there is no known cure for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Usually, there are many other more symptoms like orthostatic hypotension, hypertension and fluctuations in blood pressure and heart beat rate. But, timely medical attention can ensure its fast recovery and lessen complications. The success rate depends on the medical results like its rate of growing paralysis, absence of fever, etc. Though we might not have the complete cure, there are some therapies that can lessen the severity and accelerate the recovery. Normally CSF and ECD are the most commonly used treatments available to confirm and cure the disease, but they usually detect the syndrome after a week or two of the initial symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers can be prescribed to offer relief during the early stages. Sometimes, doctors also prescribe the use of blood thinners to control or prevent blood clotting. Most people recover soon after treatments, which may take weeks to years.
Treatment options during the period include medicines or a plasma exchange procedure called plasmapheresis with high-dose immunoglobulin therapy. This therapy is known to reduce the severity and duration of the episode. It is the process of removing the whole blood from the body and to separate the RBC and WBC from the plasma. The RBC and WBC are then re-inserted to the patient without the plasma as the body soon replaces it again. Though this method helps in reducing the severity and duration of period, the reason is still unknown to scientists.
Most GBS patients are usually treated in intensive care wards as the treatment requires placing the patient on a respirator, heart-monitor and other machines to keep the patient's body functioning during recovery of the nervous system. This is also the most critical part of the treatment.
Though treatments are limited and the cure unknown, scientists are constantly concentrating to find out newer and more effective treatments then the existing ones. They are still studying to find out the exact cells which are responsible for the attack on the nervous system. Since, most Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases begin after viral or bacterial infections; scientists of various departments are on the process of collaboratively experimenting to find out the viruses and bacteria as believed. It is still our hope that we may, one day have a complete cure to this syndrome.
The author Javies Phaltual is an online entrepreneur dedicating most of his works on health-care. Apart from health care, some of his renowned works are cool baby clothes and best waterproof mascara.

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