2 MAJOR INFLAMMATORY
GBS Support Group (UK) logo.
GUILLAIN - BARRÉ SYNDROME OR GBS.
GBS is a rare and acute polyneuropathycaused by a malfunctioning of the immune system. This disorder causes inflammation and demyelination throughout the peripheral nervous system. Symptoms range from tingling, numbness and weakness in fingers and toes to total paralysis and respiratory failure. If this happens immediate ventilation of the sufferer becomes essential. The disorder reaches its worst in 1-2 weeks or 4 weeks at the most. It is often difficult to recognise. GBS is the main member of the "inflammatory neuropathy" family. None of these neuropathies are hereditary or contagious. It can affect both sexes, all age groups and all ethnic groups. In the UK it has an annual incidence of between 1 and 2 per 100,000.
Recovery may be spontaneous, but can be assisted by good nursing and intensive care, physio- and hydrotherapy, and treatments such as plasmapheresis (the exchange of blood plasma) and the infusion of immunoglobulin. More than half of those affected make a total recovery but they may spend three or more months in hospital. Some are left with residual weakness and a small number are unable to resume their normal occupation. Even with modern treatment, up to about 5% of seriously affected patients die through respiratory failure, cardiac arrhythmias and pulmonary embolism.
In the UK the GBS Support Groupprovides emotional support to GBS patients and families in the UK and Ireland, through visits by former sufferers to offer encouragement and literature about the illness. This also applies to CIDP and related disorders. Further information can be obtained by contacting the GBS Support Group, LCC Offices, Eastgate, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 7EB. Tel/fax: 01529 304615.
Free Helpline in the UK : 0800 374803.
Web site with excellent information.
There are similar groups in a number of countries.
For example for visitors from Sweden.
The website of
GBS-Stödgruppen i Sverige.
or CIDP for short.
This illness is similar to GBS,
or CIDP for short.
This illness is similar to GBS,but it is slower to develop and is longer lasting. It is often more difficult to recognise than GBS. CIDP also usually affects the motor nerves more than the sensory nerves. As with GBS, some CIDP patients can improve spontaneously without treatment, after the disorder has lasted for several months. For others any recovery may be slow and the illness may become progressively better or even worse and have a relapsing/remitting course. CIDP patients may have similar treatment to GBS but with the possible addition of the use of cortico-steroids.
Formerly it was known as Chronic GBSbut it is now regarded as a related condition. The incidence of CIDP is rather lower than that of GBS and may be about one-fifth to one-tenth. Much more detailed information is available on
A TIP. A VERY USEFUL WEBSITE FOR GBS AND CIDP SUFFERERS.This forum on the GBS Foundation International website is used by many people to exchange their varied personal experiences. There is much to be learned from others in these forums!