Myasthenia gravis

Do you constantly feel tired? Do you suffer from rapid fatigue in your muscles? If so, there are high chances that you may be suffering from MG. Myasthenia gravis often termed as Goldflam disease, is a neuromuscular disease, where the muscles get tired easily and become weak. The muscles around the eyes are the first to get affected due to which some patients have developed double vision. In this condition, muscles which cannot be controlled voluntarily are not affected, for instance; the disease does not have any effect on the heart muscles. An autoimmune disorder, Myasthenia gravis causes weakness in the muscles by blocking the acetylcholine receptors, thus inhibiting the stimulative effect of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The treatment of Myasthenia gravis consists of managing the symptoms and it generally affects people belonging to an age group of 40-60 year.

Myasthenia gravis symptoms

The weakening of the voluntary skeletal muscles is the first and foremost symptom of Myasthenia gravis. The muscles fail to contract normally because they are not able to respond to the impulses properly. Thus a blocked communication between the muscles and nerve results in weakness. Some of the symptoms of Myasthenia gravis are:

  • Hoarse Voice.
  • Double Vision.
  • Facial Paralysis.
  • Drooping of Eyelids.
  • Feeling of Weakness.
  • Difficulty in Breathing.
  • Trouble Communicating.
  • Problem Lifting Up Objects.
  • Difficulty in Swallowing Food.

While not everyone may experience the same symptoms, the degree of muscle weakness changes on daily basis. If the symptoms are left untreated, the severity may increase.

Causes of Myasthenia gravis

The neurological disorder, Myasthenia gravis is more often caused by an autoimmune problem. This disorder occurs when the immune system of your body attacks healthy tissue instead of infectious tissue by mistake. The antibodies are designed to attack infectious cells; however, when it attacks the neurotransmitter substance, it results in muscle weakness. According to the scientists, the main cause of Myasthenia gravis is not clear till date. However, experts say that thymus gland is connected with the production of abnormal antibodies. It is suspected that certain medications can also trigger the onset of this neurological disorder. Here’s a list of few known causes that can further make the symptom worse:

  • Medical Illness.
  • Mental or Emotional Stress.
  • Excessive Tiredness.
  • Various Medications.
  • Very High Fever.

Myasthenia gravis crisis This condition arises when the respiratory muscles become paralyzed. In patients with already weak muscles, the Myasthenia crisis may trigger an infection or some adverse reaction which may lead a patient to use assisted ventilation to stay alive.

Diagnosis of Myasthenia gravis

The doctor may perform a few physical examination test and other important tests to diagnosis the condition. Few of the physic tests are:

  • Looking for Muscle Weakness.
  • Checking the Reflexes.
  • Checking the Eye Movement.
  • Testing Muscle Weakness and Tone.
  • Testing Various Motor Functions.

The doctor may also perform certain diagnostic tests to probably check for the disease. Some of the diagnostic test includes:

  • Blood Tests: This test is done to identify antibodies against acetylcholine receptor. The blood test can also help detect antibodies against voltage-gated calcium channel.
  • Edrophonium test: This test is performed when all other tests have failed to give satisfactory results. During the test, some patients may feel relieved of their pain for a short period of time. Myasthenia gravis treatment options. Till date, there is no permanent cure for Myasthenia gravis. The main motive of the neurologists is to manage the symptoms and control the activity of the immune system. To achieve this aim, The doctors may advise you to:
    • Take medicines: Immunosuppressant and corticosteroids are often used to suppress the immune system. These medicines help decrease the abnormal activity of the antibodies. Sometimes, doctors may suggest the patient to use cholinesterase inhibitors to increase muscle and nerve communication.
    • Plasma Exchange: In this procedure, harmful antibodies are removed from the blood to improve the muscle strength. However, this is a short-term treatment and is required to be repeated quite often. By undertaking the treatment advised by the doctor, you can see an improvement in your symptoms. However, before taking any new medicine or over-the-counter drugs, make sure you check with your doctor to ensure its safety.

Our Doctors

Dr. Dolgovina is board-certified in Neurology and Sleep Medicine
Dr. Marina Neystat is a board-certified neurologist, Affiliate Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, and co-owner of Advanced Medical Care

Advanced Medical Care doctors carry out diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitation procedures using modern equipment

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