Reply To: Excessive Physical Exertion Takes a Toll

April 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Hi JenD, You seem to be struggling with what you may have. GBS usually peaks in 4-6 weeks and then begins to improve on its own. GBS is almost always a one-time event and will rarely reoccur. However, GBS can return as RGBS or in the chronic form CIDP. There are other peripheral neuropathies/variants too that are similar. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) are commonly misdiagnosed as GBS/CIDP. Here is a summary about the various autoimmune disorders:

The length of time it takes to heal from GBS varies greatly by individual and the severity of demyelination. Residual symptoms may last for years after most of the healing is done.

CIDP can occur again multiple times over the course of months or years. Most doctors agree that CIDP is indicated when there are 2nd and 3rd attacks similar to the original GBS attack. The severity of additional attacks varies by individual and, like GBS, CIDP symptoms differ greatly between those of us afflicted.

CIDP can usually be distinguished from GBS through the following key tests:
• Diminished or absent deep tendon reflexes.
• A spinal tap, to analyze cerebrospinal fluid for elevated protein levels.
• A Nerve Conduction Velocity Study that measures how well individual nerves can send an electrical signal from the spinal cord to the muscles.
• Complete Blood and urine tests.

CIDP rarely remits without treatment and nerve damage usually worsens and becomes more permanent if not treated. More info about CIDP can be found here:

CIDP can be a difficult affliction to diagnose exactly. Even assessing the results of an NCV is a bit of an art. Usually, all the tests must be made to confirm the presence of CIDP. Neurologists that have specialized in treating CIDP know this and the signs to look for. Other tests can be found in the following publication and may help you and your doctor better understand the disease, its variants, and how to treat it:

With GBS/CIDP, it is best to seek care from a neurologist well experienced in treating the disorders. Is there a Center of Excellence near you?