Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness. The body is producing antibodies which are attacking the junction between nerve and muscle.
Most common symptoms of Myasthenia gravis are ocular symptoms (50%) of Drooping of the eyelids (ptosis), double vision (diplopia) and blurred vision. The disease can generalize including symptoms like weakness of facial and extremity muscles. Moreover patients could have difficulties in chewing, swallowing and speech. Respiratory weakness may produce acute respiratory failure.
The symptoms of Myasthenia gravis are negatively influenced by exercise, heat, illness, and stress. Normally they worsen in the evening and get better after resting.
Often myasthenia gravis is associated with other disease like rheumatoid arthritis , scleroderma and systemic lupus erythematosus. 65% of patients with myasthenia gravis have a hyperplasia of the thymus. 15% of patients with myasthenia gravis present a Thymoma.
Myasthenia gravis is a clinical diagnosis by specialized neurologist, supported by specific tests including Cholinesterase inhibitor tests, antibody detection test, EMG (Electromyography), Computed tomography (CT) and MRI of the chest, to detect thymoma or thymic hyperplasia.
The treatment of Myasthenia gravis is effective and most patients are able to live normal lives. Based on the clinical findings it could include certain drugs (Cholinesterase inhibitors, Immunosuppressant agents, Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG)), Plasmapheresis, Thymectomy, Physical therapy and Lifestyle changes.