Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)


This is a disorder of the nervous system that we call "GBS." With it, your immune system mistakenly attacks your peripheral nerves. These are the nerves that link your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. They control things like sensation and movement. When they are damaged, you can have severe problems.


We don't know the exact cause of GBS. It isn't inherited, and you can't catch it from someone else. For most people, it begins soon after they have a viral infection. Sometimes it begins after surgery. And in rare cases, it begins after a vaccination.


Symptoms often start with tingling or pain in your hands and feet. You may have trouble walking. These early symptoms may go away, and then others begin. You can develop muscle weakness that spreads through your whole body. This leaves you feeling unsteady and uncoordinated. You may feel pricking sensations in your hands and feet, and severe pain, especially at night. You may have trouble eating and speaking, and problems with vision. Digestion, bladder control, heart rate and blood pressure can all be affected. GBS can lead to paralysis of almost your entire body.


GBS can't be cured, but with proper care, most people make a full recovery. Care usually begins in a hospital. As you get better, you can go home and begin different therapies that help you get stronger and become independent. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.