The Dallas Cowboys recently announced that star center Travis Fredrick has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. The disease is a neurological disorder that can cause sufferers to experience weakness or paralysis in various parts of the body.
The diagnosis of Fredrick has served to bring attention to the little-known disorder.
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GBS is a disease of the autoimmune system that attacks nerves in the body. The result is that muscles in the affected areas of the body fail to work properly if at all. Most individuals stricken with GBS make full recoveries but permanent nerve damage is possible. The disease not often fatal but the possibility for loss of life due to GBS does exist.
As many as 6,000 patients are diagnosed with GBS annually in the United States. This is according to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
Symptoms Of GBS
The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms for GBS and reports that these symptoms can be present in patients from several weeks to several years.
- Tingling sensation in the extremeties of the body.
- Muscle weakness that starts in the legs and travels through the upper body
- Accelerated heart beat.
- Severe aches or cramps.
- Problems with bladder or bowel control.
- Difficulty walking.
- Difficulty with motor functions involving the mouth.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Irregular blood pressure.
Several conditions have demonstrated the ability to trigger the onset of GBS in patients. The CDC reports that more than 60 percent of the individuals diagnosed with GBS also suffered from diarrhea or an illness of the respiratory system in the weeks leading up to the diagnosis.
The Centers for Disease Control has identified a small link between flu vaccines and a Guillain-Barre Syndrome diagnosis. This link was established as far back as 1976 with a swine flu vaccine. The CDC has monitored the threat that flu vaccines pose for the development of GBS since this time and says that the specific data regarding this risk has varied from year to year.
GBS is often addressed by a plasma exchange that removes the liquid content of the blood and replaces it with healthier plasma. Immunoglobulin therapy is also an option. This works by providing patients with an infusion of healthy antibodies that are obtained from blood donors.
The recovery from GBS can be a lengthy process and the CDC reports the following statistics regarding GBS recovery:
- Four out of five patients walk on their own within six months of diagnosis.
- Three out of five patients experience the complete return of motor skills within a year following diagnosis.
- Ten percent or less of patients experience complications with recovery from GBS
While a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be attributed to a variety of factors, individuals that have reason to believe their diagnosis stems from accepting a flu vaccination may have a legal recourse available to them. The attorneys at Sadaka Associates are available for consultation and will assure that the best interests of GBS patients are represented in court.