Guillain-Barre Syndrome Life Expectancy and Long-term Outlook
Fortunately, those diagnosed with GBS currently have a positive long-term outlook and life expectancy with the initiation of prompt intensive care, and successful treatment of infection. Statistics have shown that 70% of people with GBS eventually experience full recovery.
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The point of greatest weakness usually occurs days to at most 4 weeks after the first symptoms emerge. Symptoms tend to stabilize during this level for a period of days, weeks, or, sometimes months. Recovery periods may vary between patients, and resolutions of symptoms may be seen in as little as a few weeks up to a few years. However, some individuals still report ongoing improvement after 2 years.
- Approximately 3% may suffer a relapse of muscle weakness and tingling sensations many years after the initial attack.
- Approximately 15% of individuals may experience long-term weakness; some may require ongoing use of a walker, wheelchair, or ankle support. Muscle strength may not return uniformly.
- Approximately 30% experience residual weakness after 3 years.
Fatigue, pain, and other ongoing sensations can sometimes be troublesome. Fatigue is best dealt with by engaging in pacing activities and taking time for adequate rest when fatigue sets in. Those with Guillain-Barre syndrome face not only physical but emotional difficulties as well. It is often very challenging for individuals to deal with sudden paralysis and the need to depend on others for help with routine activities. Individuals are encouraged to seek psychological counseling to help them adapt. Support groups can often ease emotional strain and provide valuable information. 
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) https://www.gbs-cidp.org/gbs/. Accessed on May 16, 2022.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome Fact Sheet https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/guillain-barre-syndrome-fact-sheet. Accessed on May 16, 2022.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome-NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/guillain-barre-syndrome/. Accessed on May 16, 2022.
Dr. Rachel Chang, PharmD was born and raised in Hawaii. She received her degree from Marshall B. Ketchum University in 2022, where she graduated with cum laude honors. The most rewarding part of her job is the connections she makes with each patient. She enjoys speaking with each patient and helping them achieve the best treatment possible. In her free time, she likes spending time with her family, traveling, fishing, and mountain biking.