It is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system (PNS). This leads to weakness, numbness, and tingling, and can eventually cause paralysis. In Guillain-Barre syndrome, your immune system attacks your peripheral nervous system. A neurologist could help.
It is difficult to diagnose at first. This is because the symptoms are very similar to those of other neurological disorders or conditions that affect the nervous system, such as botulism, meningitis, or heavy metal poisoning. Your doctor will ask questions about specific symptoms and your medical history. Be sure to tell your doctor about any unusual symptoms and if you've had any recent or past illnesses or infections.
The following tests are used to help confirm a diagnosis:
- Spinal tap
- Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange)
- Intravenous immunoglobulin
- High doses of immunoglobulin can also help block the antibodies causing Guillain-Barré. Immunoglobulin contains normal, healthy antibodies from donors.