How and why does limb go numb suddenly?

 Many times the nerves of the human body are suddenly affected and the limbs become numb. This disease is called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). The disease was first described in 1917 by French neuroscientists Georges Guillain and Jean Alexandre BarrĂ©. This disease can affect people of any age at any time. Let us know the details of the disease.

That is the reason

The idea is that some bacteria and viruses are related to the cause of this disease. Such as Campylobacter jejuni, Epstein-Barr virus etc. The disease usually begins within three weeks of infection with these germs. Patients with Guillain-Barr syndrome after vaccination have also been found.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is caused by an autoimmune disease or a defect in our immune system. Our immune system automatically produces a type of protein against a virus, bacteria, or other germ that enters the body, known as an antibody. In the case of autoimmune diseases, these antibodies work against those harmful germs as well as against their own body cells. 

The idea is that the structure of some of the germs is similar to the structure of the nerves in our body. That's why antibodies mistakenly attack the body's nerves thinking they are germs. This causes inflammation in the nerves, weakening the muscles that supply these nerves to the body.

Be aware of the symptoms

Guillain-Barre syndrome is also called GBS for short. The most common symptoms of this disease are sudden onset muscle weakness; Which usually starts in both legs and periodically affects the nerves in the hands and other places as well. 

Many times the rib nerves of the neck, mouth and chest are affected. Then the patient has difficulty breathing or swallowing food. Symptoms may include tingling or numbness of the fingers and toes. Some patients reported back pain and muscle aches. Some nerves in the body control the heartbeat, breathing, which is known as the autonomic nerve. Damage to these can lead to problems such as high blood pressure and heart rate. The symptoms of this disease gradually increase from the first appearance and the maximum symptoms appear within one to four weeks. 

The severity of symptoms varies from patient to patient. Many people's problems are so severe that they cannot move their limbs at all and fall asleep completely. Some have severe shortness of breath and difficulty swallowing food. Again many mild symptoms are seen. As the severity increases, the severity of the disease remains stable for some time until the maximum symptoms appear. Then again the nerves slowly begin to regain performance. It can take up to a few months for many to get perfectly normal performance.

Understand how

By listening to the signs and symptoms and examining the nerves of the hands and feet, it is possible to get the idea that GBS has occurred. Some tests are done to diagnose the disease. The most important test is nerve conduction study. In addition CSF study or spinal fluid test, some blood tests, ECG might be needed. If the patient has difficulty breathing, some more tests may be needed, such as spirometry.


If GBS is suspected after hearing the symptoms, he should be admitted to the hospital. Treatment depends on the symptoms and severity of the disease. Physiotherapy, intensive monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, respiration is very important. In many cases, if the ribs are numb and breathing is difficult, ventilator support may be needed.

 If you can't swallow, you may have to give a food tube. Some Guillain-Barre syndrome patients are given immunoglobulin, plasma exchange. There is a risk of blood clots in the veins of the patient's hands and feet. So using special types of socks, blood fluids may take medicine. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are very important for these patients.

The future of the infected patient

7-8 out of 10 patients recover completely in 6 to 12 months. 1-2 out of every 10 patients suffer from some permanent weakness. 1 in 20 patients is at risk of death. It is hoped, however, that many patients with acute Guillain-Barre syndrome will recover completely. Getting the disease at the right time and getting the right support is very crucial.

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