A young student named Emily Thompson, age twenty years shared the tale of her tough battle for life with a disease after which her entire body as well as her eyelids were left paralyzed by a rare but deadly medical condition. The youngster could not even move after being struck by this disease what is known as ‘ Guillain Barré Syndrome ‘.
The uncommon disease is said to affect just one person in a lakh and attacks the nerves of its victim directly. Emily faced death and had to be hospitalized in intensive care unit immediately. Matters became worse after Emily caught pneumonia; doctors gave her distressed family the word that she might not be able to make it altogether. She was put on the ventilator for five long weeks. But Emily’s conditions improved and now she is back to practice her first steps as she begins to walk again.
Three months ago, this former dancer of Newton Hall, Co Durham, got diagnosed when she complained of numb hands and feet. These were the only symptoms she’d seen before being taken to medication. Days after that, her mum Carolyn, aged fifty-one, dad David, aged forty-nine, sister Victoria, twenty and brother Michael, twenty-seven, saw her taken into hospital.
Emily studies Social work at the Sunderland University and has high plans regarding what she’ll do after college. The brave girl says that she has faced such bad days in her life when she couldn’t even remember anything. One could not just tell whether it was real or what was it a dream. Her mother Carolyn says that she wasn’t showing any significant sign of improvement. It became impossible for her to speak and for some days she was not able to even move her eyes.
After more than one and a half month in the intensive care unit, Emily began to regain feeling sensations in her body. Then she was out of danger and was transferred to the general medical ward.
Finally, this week her physiotherapist helped her take her first two steps at the rehabilitation centre in Newcastle. Emily says that she can’t describe the feeling; she just wanted to cry. For her, it so overwhelming because she had lost the hope for it to ever happen.
Her sister Victoria who is a teacher, kept a diary of the daily incidents for Emily. Her family had lost all hopes for her to recover. But it’s no less than a miracle that somehow she’s survived this horrible experience and emerged triumphed from this disease.
Emily’s family, being very considerate about people suffering from the same disease and others who may fall victim to this guillain barré syndrome, decided to spread Emily’s story in order to make people aware of this rather rare condition. Her family knows that there is not much known about the disease and hopes that Emily’s story will aid to raise awareness in people regarding the Guillain Barré Syndrome .
Hope their efforts count and people get to know about its symptoms earlier than Emily did.
Guillain Barré Syndrome symptoms and signs
Guillain Barre Syndrome symptoms and signs include prickling and having a sensation like ‘pins and needles’ in your fingers, toes, or in parts of arms and wrists. They also experience weakness in legs that spreads to other body parts. They can also face difficulty in eye or facial movements like speaking, chewing or even swallowing food.
Besides that, they are likely to suffer from severe pain that may feel cramp-like and can get worse at night. Difficulty with bladder control and bowel dysfunction is also possible.
Also, they have a rapid and irregular heart rate and suffer from low or high blood pressure and difficulty in breathing.
Cause of GBS disease
The exact cause of ‘Guillain-Barre’ is still unknown to researchers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, claims that around two-thirds of people affected with this kind of syndrome develop it soon after they have had diarrhea or any sort of respiratory infection. This clearly suggests that Guillain-Barre Syndrome may be triggered by an unseemly immune response to the former illness.
Bacterial infections are also a primary cause of GBS disease or Guillain Barre Syndrome. Poultry foods are responsible for such infections.
Treatment of Guillain Barre Syndrome
Anybody infected with Guillain-Barre should be immediately admitted to the hospital for close observation and medication. The symptoms tend to get worse with time and can be fatal if they are not well treated and ignored. In relentless cases, people with Guillain-Barre have developed a full-body paralysis. It can be even life-threatening if paralysis once begins to affect the diaphragm, thus preventing proper breathing.
However, there is no proper cure for Guillain-Barre. The goal of any treatment related to the disease is just to diminish the severity of its symptoms and keep the body functioning while the nervous system can recover itself. Some treatment measures include- Plasmapheresis that is Plasma Exchange, and intended to eradicate the antibodies attacking the nerves from the patient’s blood.
Intravenous Immunoglobulin helps to block the antibodies causing Guillain Barré Syndrome or GBS disease.
Both these treatments are equally effective.
Hope you have a clear understanding of the GBS disease now. Feel free to share your experience with this Guillain Barre Syndrome and how you could cope up with it.