Previously you could read about vasculitis and what kind of wrong prejudices people have about it. This time as a part of series about autoimmune diseases, it is worth looking closer at another disease called myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia gravis definition says that it “is a chronic condition that causes muscles to tire and weaken easily.”[1] Therefore, some people might think that it is simple muscle weakness and it will eventually go away. You probably can remember times when you felt exhausted and tired, or muscles were aching. Not always it means something serious, but it is worth to understand that to address further attention to the possibility that something is out of order.

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Myasthenia gravis symptoms:

  • Especially while eating, a person can notice that his or her jaw muscles are tired and weak, causing problems to chew and swallow the food. A person might not even see it as a problem because with some resting, muscles will again be strong and it will be possible to eat without any hesitancy
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Blurring or doubling vision
  • Problems to stand or walk upstairs
  • Difficulty in lifting an arm up
  • Inability to smile

The disease can affect different muscles without exception as well as there might be times when it almost not visible and times when muscles feel useless. Even for smiling, certain muscle groups work to make it happen. If myasthenia gravis affects muscles that are responsible for breading, myasthenia gravis prognosis is not that positive because this life-threatening situation that can happen anytime.

Who should pay more attention?

The target of myasthenia gravis mostly affects women between 20-40 years and men between 50-70 years. When a woman who has this disease gives birth, there is a big possibility that the child will have muscle weakness (neonatal myasthenia). It is because antibodies travel from mother’s body into the unborn child’s. Within three weeks, if the body has a normal response, it will get rid of those antibodies and muscle tone and strength will be back to normal.

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Myasthenia gravis causes

The disease itself has something to do with body’s antibodies that are special proteins. They fight any invaders that the body faces day to day like bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The body fails to identify correctly what is good and what is bad, so it starts to attack itself. They primary destroy acetylcholine receptors that are important for muscle contraction and thus effective function. The exact cause of why it happens is unknown. It might have relation to thymus gland producing antibodies. Myasthenia gravis treatment varies in each case. If a person has thymoma, a person needs an operation. It is also hard to get an exact myasthenia gravis diagnosis, or it happens in late stages. To keep yourself balanced and evaluate your daily habits and food is easier.

Reference:

[1] Understanding Myasthenia Gravis — the Basics. Accessed from: https://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-myasthenia-gravis-basics#1rel=”nofollow”