What are the symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome?
Symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome vary from person to person and may be mild or severe. Most often, the first prominent symptom is weakness, and most often the weakness is felt in both legs. The weakness is accompanied by decreased feeling (paresthesia). Reflexes are lost, for example, the hammer to the front of the knee will not induce a kick. In severe cases breathing can be affected enough to require a ventilator and rarely the heart can be affected. The maximal degree of weakness usually occurs within the first 2-3 weeks. Over time, the weakness often involves the arms or head, affecting eye and head movement and speech. Occasionally, the weakness will affect the arms or muscles of the head before affecting the legs. Although symptoms can become life threatening, partial recovery is possible from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (however, some degree of weakness may still be present).