Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects the myelin sheaths of your peripheral nervous system (the outer protective layer of your nerves). Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually causing paralysis of your whole body.
- Breathing difficulties due to paralysis or weakness of the muscles that control your breathing
- Residual numbness. Most patients with Guillain-Barré recover completely or have only minor weakness or residual sensations such as numbness or tingling recover (70%) and can take up to 1 year or more
- Cardiovascular problems: cardia arrhythmias or fluctuations in blood pressure may occur
- Pain: up to 50% of people with this condition suffer from severe neurological pain
- Bowel and urine: some people may experience sluggish bowels or urine retention
- Blood clots and bed sores
- Relapse occurs in up to 10% of people
Current theories of the cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome are related to a virus which includes respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, herpes zoster, glandular fever and viral hepatitis. Other triggers may be surgery, insect bites and vaccinations.
However, the causes of other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (which affects the myelin sheath of the central nervous) have been linked to viruses but this has not been Dr. Hardy’s experience. An environmental trigger like bacteria, gluten, and/or emotional stress can be involved, resulting in gastrointestinal changes which in turn increases the permeability of the intestines resulting in the development of immune complexes. As this is an acute disease often requiring hospitalization, it is best to see patients when hospitalization is finished. The treatment regime is focused on hastening the recovery of a patient and preventing any residual complications.
Discovery of what caused the disease in each individual person is accomplished through a very detailed case history, family history and food sensitivity testing. When all the information is gathered together, then a program of specific treatment that is tailored to deal with the causes on all levels: emotional, physical and dietary.