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Guillain-Barré Syndrome

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There is no cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome. It usually resolves on its own with full, functional recovery. Symptoms can be managed through various treatments stabilizing disease progression, which then begins to resolve within weeks or months. Death rarely occurs and is generally due to secondary lung (pulmonary) complications.

The goals of treatment are to try to help decrease the severity of symptoms, speed healing, and to prevent and/or minimize complications. Many people with GBS require hospitalization for careful monitoring and supportive care. If the symptoms are severe, the person may require breathing assistance.

Two approaches are sometimes used early in the disease to lessen the severity and hasten the recovery. Both are intended to decrease the effectiveness of the antibodies that attack the myelin sheath. Plasmapheresis is a process of removing blood, filtering out the liquid plasma that contains antibodies involved in the autoimmune disorder, and then returning the red and white blood cells to the circulation. High-dose immunoglobulin therapy has been used to diminish the activity of the damaging antibodies.

In the recovery phase, most of those with GBS will need to undergo physical therapy to help regain muscle strength.

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