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Myasthenia Gravis

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is a disorder causing weakness and easy fatigue of voluntary muscles. This weakness fluctuates, usually being less severe in the morning and then becoming worse later in the day. It is caused by a breakdown in the communication between nerves and muscles, usually because of an immunological problem. Early symptoms are eyelid drooping, double vision, weakness of the face, swallowing, chewing, and weakness of the limbs.

Who gets Myasthenia Gravis?

Anyone can get myasthenia gravis, but women are more likely to have it. Women usually are usually diagnosed when they are younger than 40, whereas men are usually diagnosed when they are older than 60.

How is Myasthenia Gravis diagnosed?

A physician may perform blood tests or an EMG to determine if a patient has myasthenia gravis. Patients may also have a chest scan to look at the size of the thymus gland.

How is Myasthenia Gravis treated?

Anticholinesterase drugs can be used to treat myasthenia gravis, as well as drugs that suppress the immune system. A thymectomy (removal of the thymus) may be performed if medication cannot control myasthenia gravis. Plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin may also be used, but the effects are not long-lasting.

More information on Myasthenia Gravis

Mayo Clinic
The Myasthenia Gravis Association
Muscular Dystrophy Association
The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America