Myasthenia Gravis

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disorder which results in weak and fragile skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons, and they produce all the movements of body ...

Symptoms

Symptoms of MG usually improve when more relaxation is given to the muscles. The first signs of MG include problems in the eyes such as:
Drooping of one or both the eyelids.
Diplopia (double vision), this can be horizontal or vertical, or both. This defect resolves if one eye is closed.
The speech may sound soft and nasal.
The person may choke easily, which makes it difficult for him to eat, drink, or take any pills. When the person drinks, liquid may come out of the nose.
The person may face difficulty in chewing food, particularly something hard, such as steak.
The smile and other facial expressions may be lost, if the muscles that control facial expressions are affected.
MG can cause weakness in the person’s neck, arms and legs, but this usually happens along with muscle weakness in other parts of your body, such as the eyes, face, or throat

Causes

The causes for MG include:
Antibodies – Neurotransmitters are the chemicals by which muscles communicate with the nerves, and these chemicals fit exactly at the receptor sites. In a patient with MG, some antibodies are produced by the immune system that blocks the receptor site. With fewer sites available, the muscles receive less signals, which results in weakness.
Thymus gland – It is a part of the immune system, located below the breastbone. This gland may start to maintain the generation of antibodies that block acetylcholine.
Random causes – Some patients may have MG which is not because of the above two reasons. This type of MG is popularly known as antibody-negative myasthenia gravis.

Risks

Some common risks of Myasthenia gravis are:
Thymus tumours.
Lupus.
Rheumatoid arthritis.

Prevention

Myasthenia gravis cannot be prevented. However, following are some measures that can be followed to avoid the triggers:
Avoiding stress.
Avoiding overexertion.
Maintaining potassium level in blood.
Not being sick

How is it diagnosed?

Our neurologist at Medanta will look for signs and symptoms such as droopy eyelids, difficulty in holding the arms at a stretched length for some time, or a weak grip.

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How is it treated?

Myasthenia Gravis is mostly treated with medications, and in some special cases, surgery is performed. However, there is no final cure for Myasthenia Gravis.

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  • Pyridostigmine

    The patient may be asked to put on a drug called pyridostigmine. Prednisone and other immunosuppressant medicines like azathioprine, cyclosporine, or cyclophosphamide can be used to reduce the generation of anti-acetylcholine antibodies

  • Plasma Replacement

    In special cases, the patient might have to let the blood pass through a special machine to discard the antibody containing plasma, and to replace it with antibody free plasma.

  • Surgery

    If the patient has thymoma, surgery is required to discard thymus. Even if the tumour is not present, the surgery will help the patient to mitigate the symptoms.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

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How does Medanta provide care?

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