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What is the long-term outlook for Guillain-Barre syndrome patients?

The long term outlook for Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is excellent with most patients experiencing complete recovery.  5-10 % of patient experieince some residual weakness or difficulty with balance while less than 5% of patients can die as a result of complications of GBS.   

Guillain-Barre syndrome can be a devastating disorder because of its sudden and unexpected onset. In addition, recovery is not necessarily quick. Patients usually reach the point of greatest weakness or paralysis days or weeks after the first symptoms occur. These symptoms then stabilize at this level for a period of days, weeks, or, sometimes, months. The recovery period may be as little as a few weeks or as long as a few years. About 30 percent of those with Guillain-Barre still have a residual weakness after 3 years. About 3 percent may suffer a relapse of muscle weakness and tingling sensations many years after the initial attack.

Guillain-Barre syndrome patients face not only physical difficulties, but emotionally painful periods as well. It is often extremely difficult for patients to adjust to sudden paralysis and dependence on others for help with routine daily activities. Patients sometimes need psychological counseling to help them adapt.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.