Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a disorder of neuromuscular transmission. It’s characterized by episodic muscle weakness, mainly the muscles controlled by the cranial nerves.
The disease is caused by an autoimmune attack on the acetylcholine receptor resulting in damage to the normal neuromuscular transmission. The cause of this disease which leads to the formation of antibodies is not known.
The disease is more common in women and usually presents between 20 and 40 years but can present at any age.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Drooping upper eyelid (ptosis)
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Muscle fatigability after exercise
- Eye muscles are eventually affected in 85% of patients
- Slurred speech (dysarthria), difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia) and limb weakness are common.
- Conventional medical treatment includes the use of cholinesterase inhibiting drugs and plasmapheresis (removal of plasma from the blood).
- Corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs and thymectomy (removal of thymus gland) may alter the course of the disease by interfering with the autoimmune cause.
- MG can be a difficult to problem to manage and most patients with even moderately severe disease do best when treated by an experienced specialist.