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General Information

When you move your body, sensory nerves in the body communicate with the central nervous system. When something prevents this communication, your ability to move is affected and can result in weakness, loss of muscle coordination or paralysis. Paralysis is sometimes a gradual process, but it can also happen suddenly.

Sudden paralysis is a medical emergency, as many of its causes are serious. Go to your nearest emergency room or call 911. This quick onset symptom is treatable, even reversible, with prompt treatment. Goshen Hospital Emergency Department can help. Our board certified emergency physicians and nurses are equipped with the right advanced, lifesaving technology to quickly diagnosis and treat the cause of paralysis.

Symptoms related to sudden paralysis

You may experience other symptoms with paralysis, including:

  • Vision changes
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Drooping face
  • Numbness
  • Memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
  • Headache
  • Trouble balancing or walking

Tell your doctor at Goshen Hospital Emergency Department if you experience any of these symptoms with paralysis. Providing information such as what you’ve recently had to eat or drink, recent illnesses, insect or snake bites, and chemical exposure can also help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Emergency treatment for the causes of paralysis

Sudden paralysis causes may include:

  • Trauma, including spinal cord injury
  • Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Brain hemorrhage (bleeding)
  • Infections, including tetanus and West Nile virus
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a rare autoimmune disorder possibly triggered by an infection
  • Toxins such as venom or poison

As a Level II emergency center that offers integrated care, our team works together to diagnose what’s causing your paralysis. If the cause isn’t obvious, such as trauma, you may need additional testing. This may include blood tests, imaging exams, in-depth neurological exams and electrophysiologic testing, which measures your nerve and muscle function. Rely on our experts to help you understand your paralysis.

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