In most patients, the disease is preceded by an infectious event that triggers the immune response and triggers the acute onset of neurological symptoms, manifesting as limb weakness and areflexia.
This direct link to a previous infection suggests that the driver of the autoimmunity developed in the disease is due to molecular mimicry between the antigens of the infectious agent and the peripheral nerve leading to post-infectious inflammation that enhances nerve damage or blocks nerve conduction.
Guillain-Barré syndrome usually begins with tingling and weakness that starts in the feet and legs, and then spreads to the upper body and arms. In about 10% of people with the disorder, symptoms begin in the arms or face. As Guillain-Barré syndrome progresses, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis.
Signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome may include:
- Tingling sensations in the fingers, toes, ankles or wrists
- Weakness in the legs spreading to the upper body
- Unsteady gait or inability to walk or climb stairs
- Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Double vision or inability to move the eyes
- Severe pain, which may be a dull, shooting or cramping pain, and which may get worse at night
- Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function
- Accelerated heart rate
- High or low blood pressure
- Breathing difficulties
GBS is considered a rare disease with an incidence ranging from 0.9 to 1.9 cases per 100,000 population per year, mainly in adult males.
The company doing research in the field of this disease is AptaTargets.