Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a neurological disorder where the immune system of the body will attack part of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of the network of nerves that are located in the spinal cord and in the brain. Guillain Barre Syndrome can be very mild with brief weaknesses occuring or it can be quite severe and cause devastating paralysis and leave a person unable to breathe on their own. The good news is that even with the most severe cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome most people will recover.
However, after recovering some people will still have some degree of weakness. Anyone can be affected by Guillain Barre Syndrome. It is most frequent in adults and older individuals, but can strike at any age. Both males and females are more prone to the disorder. It is estimated that about one out of every 100,000 people are affected by GBS each year.
1. Causes of GBS
It is not known what exactly causes a person to develop Guillain Barre Syndrome. People who have researched the disease do not know why it will strike some people and not strike others. It is not inherited and it is not contagious. What is known about the disease is that the person who is infected will have an immune system that attacks their own body.
It is thought in some cases that this initial immune attack is started as a way to fight infection and that there are some chemicals on the bacteria and viruses may resemble those found on the nerve cells. This then can become the target of the attack. Typically, the immune system will use antibodies to protect the body from infectious microorganisms. With Guillain Barre Syndrome, the immune system will attack the healthy nerves of the body instead.