Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder which is described as fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups. Immune system in the body attacks itself and the nerves causing massive muscle fluctuation.
What is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic disorder characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. Myasthenia Gravis is caused by a breakdown in the communication between nerves and muscles, usually because of an immunological problem where the cells cannot communicate and the immune system attacks cells it does not recognize. There are 86 autoimmune diseases that have been diagnosed today and Myasthenia Gravis is one of them.
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that is more common in women under 40 years old and men over 60. The name literally means "grave muscle weakness." With current therapies, however, most people with this disease have a normal life expectancy. Some signs of Myasthenia Gravis are droopy eyelids, muscle weakness, and fatigue.
Muscle control is improved after a considerable rest which is partly one of the reasons why there are people with Myasthenia Gravis which are not diagnosed because they tend to disregard the symptoms as just simple conditions of fatigue.
Key Facts of Myasthenia Gravis
- A chronic autoimmune disorder that affects voluntary muscle groups.
- Caused usually when circulating antibodies block acetylcholine receptors.
- Acetylcholine is a chemical formed when nerve impulse that originates in the brain arrives at the nerve ending.
- This chemical further connects with other receptor sites activating the receptor sites further causing the muscles to respond and contract.
- In Myasthenia Gravis this response of the muscles caused due to activation of receptor sites is reduced by 80%.
- In MG immune system of an individual produce antibodies against receptor sites.
- Presence of abnormal antibodies in patients with MG can be identified by blood tests.
- Muscle weakness normally in a patient suffering from Myasthenia Gravis occurs when acetylcholine cannot stimulate adequate receptor sites at the neuromuscular intersection.
Causes of Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia Gravis is caused by an error in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. It occurs when normal communication between the nerve and muscle is interrupted at the neuromuscular junction—the place where nerve cells connect with the muscles they control.
There are some biological Causes of Myasthenia Gravis that are wholly responsible for the muscle weakness and lack of voluntary movements in affected patients. These causes include:
- Hereditary factors
- Presence of abnormal antibodies
- Immune system producing antibodies against receptor sites.
- Acetylcholine blocking the activation of receptor sites responsible for causing voluntary movements
- Stress, heat, fatigue and other illnesses are not directly responsible for causing MG but they do worsen the situation in patients
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis vary widely. In some people, only the eye muscles will be affected, while in others it can impact many muscles, including those that control breathing.
Although myasthenia gravis may affect any skeletal muscle, muscles that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, and swallowing are most frequently affected. The onset of the disorder may be sudden and symptoms often are not immediately recognized as myasthenia gravis.
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis may include:
Drooping of one or both eyelids
- Impaired speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- A change in facial expression
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness in the arms, hands, fingers, legs and neck
- Drooping eyelids
- Blurred or double vision
- A change in facial expressions, such as a smile that looks more like a grimace
- Jaw muscles that tire easily, such as when chewing gum or meat
- Blurred or double vision due to weakness of the muscles that control eye movements
If you notice any of these of Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, see your doctor. Most people with myasthenia gravis say that the muscle weakness is often worse when they are active and improves after they rest. The disease can affect the muscles that control breathing in some people.
Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis
There are several tests that can confirm a Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis. Some are listed below:
- A blood test may be able to detect the abnormal antibodies that cause myasthenia gravis, although in about a quarter of those with the condition the levels may not be high enough to be detectable.
- An electromyogram can measure muscle responses to an electrical stimulus. A needle electrode is inserted through the skin and into the muscle. It gives an electrical recording of muscle activity when nerves to the muscles are stimulated.
- An injection of the drug edrophonium can be given, which causes a rapid but brief improvement in muscle strength for people with myasthenia gravis. This is because edrophonium blocks the breakdown of acetylcholine see Myasthenia gravis - causes and temporarily increases the amount of acetylcholine around the muscle.
Complications of Myasthenia Gravis
While Complications of Myasthenia Gravis are treatable some can be life-threatening.
Complications may include the following:
- Myasthenic crisis is a life-threatening condition that affects breathing and requires immediate treatment in order for the person to be able to breathe on their own.
- Thymus tumors, which usually are not cancerous, occur in about 15 percent of people with myasthenia gravis, according to Mayo Clinic.
- People with myasthenia gravis are more likely to have underactive or overactive thyroid and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Risk Factors of Myasthenia Gravis
Risk factors for myasthenia gravis include having a personal or family history of autoimmune diseases. Men over 60 and women under 40 are at higher risk. Additionally, having myasthenia gravis increases the risk of having other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Key Points of Myasthenia Gravis
Key Points of Myasthenia Gravis include are:
- There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but the symptoms can generally be controlled
- Most people with this condition can improve their muscle strength and lead normal or near normal lives
- In more severe cases, help may be needed for breathing and eating
- The goal of treatment is to increase general muscle function and prevent swallowing and breathing problems
- Chronic immunomodulatory therapy can effectively control symptoms in the vast majority of patients
- Myasthenia Gravis is a disorder that causes weakness in muscles around the body. It mostly affects the eyes, mouth, throat, arms, and legs
Prevention of Myasthenia Gravis
Because the cause of myasthenia gravis is unknown, there is no way to prevent it. However, once the disease has developed, there may be ways to prevent episodes of worsening symptoms or flare-ups:
- Give yourself plenty of rest
- Avoid excessive heat and cold
- Avoid emotional stress
- Avoid strenuous, exhausting activities
- Avoiding respiratory infections
- Reducing emotional stress
- Maintaining strength and weight with proper nutrition
- Taking anticholinesterase drugs as prescribed to minimize weakness in breathing muscles
- Inform the neurologist of other medications to avoid drugs that interfere with treatment
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Here we have some old school tips compiled for you to take advantage from. We will keep updating them as soon as we come up with something new through experiment. In the meanwhile read and follow these:
- Chew your food slowly.
- Take small break between bites.
- Try to eat small meals several times in a day instead of overstuffing yourself in one go.
- Install railings where you need support because you might fall due to loss of balance and hurt yourself.
- In case of double vision try to wear an eye patch.
- Eat foods that give you a lot of energy like fresh fruits and dry fruits.
- Avoid fruits like mango and bananas or over eating fruits if you have diabetes.
- All these tips will keep you motivated and make you feel good about yourself while you are still undergoing the Myasthenia Gravis management routine with our Herbal Alternative Medicine.
- These tips and tricks are by no means a replacement of actual products.