Essay on Guillain- Barre Syndrome

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Guillain- Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare, but very fatal auto- immune disease that specifically focuses on attacking the myelin sheath that surrounds the peripheral nerves in the human body. There are many different severities of this disease, but without treatment it can not only affect the entire nervous system but eventually shut down the rest of the body. The myelin sheath is a fatty substance that surrounds the axons of the nerves and provides protection. It allows messages to be sent rapidly and accurately to the axons from long distances (Serono, 2010). The axons are the part of the nervous system that allows electrical transmission of signals throughout the brain and spinal cord. Without these electrical transmissions, the body…show more content…
It is believed that the virus or bacteria has changed the chemical make-up of the cells of the nervous system (NINDS, 2011). This activates the body’s immune response because it views the cells of the nervous system as a foreign object in the body. About 60% of cases of GBS follow an infection of the lungs or digestive system (Mayo Clinic, 2011). There are many types of viruses that scientist believe trigger GBS, these include: campylobacter jejuni, mycoplasma, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-barr virus, or the varicella- zoster virus (Web MD, 2011). Campylobacter jejuni is a type of virus that can cause food poisoning, mycoplasma can cause pneumonia, and Epstein- barr virus can cause mononucleosis. Varicella- zoster virus is typically the cause of chicken pox and shingles and the cytomegalovirus causes flu like symptoms (Web MD, 2011). It is unclear why this happens in some people and not in others, or why some cases of Guillain- Barre have no known trigger. The first signs of Guillain- Barre Syndrome are usually a tingling and weakness in the feet and hands. These sensations will begin to work their way up the extremities and to the rest of the body as the myelin sheath continues to be destroyed. There may be “pin and needle sensations in the fingers and toes” (Mayo Clinic, 2011), weakness in muscles resulting in a decrease in gait ability, difficulty controlling the eyes, face, speech, chewing, and swallowing, and severe pain in the
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