Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

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Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

Multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome share some similarities, in that they both affect the nervous system, yet there are important ways these diseases are different.

Multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome are similar in that they both affect the nervous system, but the diseases attack nerves in different ways and, therefore, require different approaches to treatment.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) are what is called demyelinating conditions that impact the nervous system. Both MS and Guillain-Barre patients experience loss of myelin, which covers the axons of neurons. While multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome are similar in that they both are classified as autoimmune diseases and they both affect the myelin sheath, they affect different types of myelin.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. This includes the brain and spinal cord. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disease of the peripheral nervous system, which is the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome comes down to the cells that make up the myelin. Essentially, the cells in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system are different.

Multiple sclerosis attacks the nerves that send signals to the brain. The disease attacks the myelin, best described as fatty material that protects the nerve. Sadly, any damage to the nerve is irreversible. Since the nervous system is being affected, major functions like movement and vision become impaired. With Guillain-Barre syndrome, the body’s immune system attacks nerves, leading to weakness, numbness, and, in some cases, paralysis. In most cases, GBS happens after an infection.

Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: U.S. prevalence

Let’s look at multiple sclerosis versus Guillain-Barre syndrome in terms of numbers. Statistics shows that there are over 400,000 cases of MS in the U.S. Women make up the majority of cases. Sadly, there are about 200 cases of multiple sclerosis diagnosed each week in the United States.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is considered rare. Between 3,000 and 6,000 people in the U.S develop GBS. This works out to about one to two people out of every 1,000. In 1976, a small risk of Guillain-Barre was found following swine flu vaccinations. Since that time, several studies have be done to test if other flu vaccines are linked to GBS. In most of the studies, no association was found, but two studies reported that about one additional person out of one million vaccinated people might be at risk of Guillain-Barre with the seasonal influenza vaccine.

Read Full Article: Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

Read Full Article: Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

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