Understanding the Link Between Guillain-Barré Syndrome, CIDP and Peripheral Neuropathy

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) are two possible causes of peripheral neuropathy, a nerve damage condition characterized by numbness, tingling or weakness in the hands and feet. Because peripheral neuropathy can have many different potential causes, patients with symptoms of numbness, weakness and tingling in the hands and feet should consult a medical professional to rule out other causes.

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.

Closeup side view of late 50's doctor examining an ankle of an early 30's man during an appointment. The doctor is gently touching the tendons around the ankle and throughout the foot and trying to determine the cause of pain.

While diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy, neurological disorders like GBS and CIDP may also be the culprit. GBS and CIDP-related peripheral neuropathy are more common in older adults. In addition to typical peripheral neuropathy symptoms, GBS and CIDP can also present as a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion and fatigue, slow or nonexistent reflexes and tingling or weakness in the arms and legs. GBS and CIDP are treatable, and most patients will recover to a certain degree with treatment.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition wherein the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, causing weakness, numbness and a tingling feeling, especially in the hands and feet. Peripheral neuropathy can have several causes. The leading cause is diabetes, though neurological disorders like GBS and CIDP can also cause peripheral neuropathy.

What are GBS and CIDP?

Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy are two types of neurological disorder. The main distinction between the two is the timing of their onset. GBS tends to have a rapid onset, reaching its most severe state within four weeks. CIDP, on the other hand, is a chronic autoimmune neuropathy, meaning that it progresses much more slowly and lasts longer. Both are autoimmune disorders that cause damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons of peripheral nerves, which ultimately causes the damage that brings on the discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Causes

While the exact causes of GBS and CIDP are not perfectly understood, it is known that most cases of GBS follow a gastrointestinal viral infection, and that CIDP can occur in conjunction with other illnesses, such as chronic hepatitis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, immune system disorders due to cancer, an overactive thyroid and many other conditions. It is thought that the immune system’s response to these conditions, with other factors, cause damage to the myelin sheaths protecting the axon of peripheral nerves, leading to the damage that causes symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. This leads to acute or chronic sensations of numbness, weakness, pins-and-needles sensations and tingling associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms

Peripheral neuropathy that is associated with neurological disorders like GBS and CIDP can cause a number of symptoms, including the following:

  • The onset of weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the arms, legs, face and breathing muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
  • Loss of deep tendon reflexes

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional for a thorough evaluation and to rule out other causes.

Treatments

Both Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy require treatment under the supervision of a specialist. Potential treatments include blood transfusions, medication, supportive care and physical therapies. Patients who receive proper treatment in a timely manner are more likely to avoid a significant amount of disability as a result of these conditions. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or suspect you may have Guillain-Barré syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, contact a medical professional right away for a full evaluation and diagnosis.

Conclusion

There are many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, including neurological disorders like Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. If you are experiencing weaknesses, numbness, pain or tingling feeling in your hands or feet, or if you are experiencing any of the other symptoms listed above, don’t hesitate: contact a medical professional for a full evaluation right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve quality of life and help you avoid a significant amount of disability associated with these conditions if left untreated.

WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our companyour drug and subscribe to our newsletter.

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FAQs

What are Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy?

Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy are two types of neurological disorder. The main distinction between the two is the timing of their onset. GBS tends to have a rapid onset, reaching its most severe state within four weeks. CIDP, on the other hand, is a chronic autoimmune neuropathy, meaning that it progresses much more slowly and lasts longer. Both are autoimmune disorders that cause damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons of peripheral nerves, which ultimately causes the damage that brings on the discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy.

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy?

The onset of weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the arms, legs, face and breathing muscles
Fatigue
Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
Loss of deep tendon reflexes

What are treatments for Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy?

Both Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy require treatment under the supervision of a specialist. Potential treatments include blood transfusions, medication, supportive care and physical therapies. Patients who receive proper treatment in a timely manner are more likely to avoid a significant amount of disability as a result of these conditions. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or suspect you may have Guillain-Barré syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, contact a medical professional right away for a full evaluation and diagnosis.

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Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.