Guillain-Barre syndrome is one of several kinds of polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy is when many of the nerves in the body malfunction simultaneously. Polyneuropathy may be chronic, taking months or even years to develop, or acute, coming on suddenly. One of the most common forms of chronic polyneuropathy is caused by diabetes. Although rare, Guillain-Barre is one of the more common types of acute neuropathies.
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Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Guillain Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune condition which rapidly (over the course of 2-3 weeks) affects the peripheral nerves resulting in numbness and weakness. There are many conditions which can cause similar symptoms and incude:
1. Myelitis - Inflammation or infection of the spinal cord
2. Certain infections such as Lyme disease or West Nile Virus
3. Toxin exposure such as botulism and heavy metal toxicity