Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects communication between nerves and muscles.
This can lead to muscle weakness and fatigue that gets worse with activity.
This article explore the causes, symptoms and available treatments for myasthenia gravis.
Causes of Myasthenia Gravis
The exact cause of myasthenia gravis is unknown.
It is believed to be caused by the immune system attacking specific protein receptors in muscles.
These receptors are responsible for receiving signals from nerve cells, allowing muscles to contract.
In some cases, MG can also be associated with tumors of the thymus gland, a small gland located in the chest.
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
The hallmark symptom of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness that worsens with activity and improves with rest. Common signs and symptoms may include:
– Drooping eyelids
– Double vision
– Facial weakness
– Weakness in limbs
– Difficulty swallowing and breathing
Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis
Diagnosing myasthenia gravis involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination and specific tests.
A neurological examination to test muscle weakness and blood tests to check for the presence of antibodies associated with MG are most commom.
Additional tests, such as a repetitive nerve stimulation test or a single-fiber electromyography (EMG), can help confirm the diagnosis by assessing the electrical activity of muscles and nerve transmission.
Treatment Options for Myasthenia Gravis
While there is no cure for myasthenia gravis, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These include:
– Medications: Several medications can help alleviate muscle weakness and improve muscle function.
– Thymectomy: Surgical removal of the thymus (thymectomy) may be recommended to improve symptoms and reduce the need for medications.
– Plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg): These treatments involve filtering the blood to remove the antibodies causing the immune system dysfunction or providing the body with healthy antibodies to counteract the harmful ones.
– Lifestyle modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes, such as avoiding strenuous activities, managing stress, and getting enough rest, can help conserve energy and minimize symptoms.
– Supportive therapies: Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy can play a significant role in maintaining muscle strength and function, improving swallowing difficulties and enhancing overall quality of life.
Although the exact cause remains unclear, advancements in medical research have allowed for effective management of Myasthenia Gravis in most cases.
If you or a loved one may be experiencing signs or symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, please seek immediate medical attention to properly diagnos the symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan!