What is Myasthenia Gravis?
It is the most common primary disorder of neuromuscular transmission and is typically found between the ages of 20 and 50. Unlike any other neurological disorders, Myasthenia Gravis does not cause progressive muscle atrophy – degeneration. Myasthenia Gravis can be caused by an acquired immune abnormality or by genetic abnormality. It is characterized with weakness of the skeletal muscles of the body.
Types of Myasthenia gravis?
There are several types of Myasthenia gravis and could be categorized according to which skeletal muscles are affected:
Generalized Myasthenia Gravis – symptoms includes weakness in the arms, and legs
Ocular Myasthenia Gravis – characteristic includes weakness only in muscles that control eye movement
Congenital Myasthenia Gravis – caused by genetic defects and developed shortly after birth and causes generalized symptoms.
Transient neonatal Myasthenia Gravis – caused by circulation of the mother’s antibodies through the placenta and lasts as long as mother’s antibodies remaining the infan.
What Causes Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia Gravis are caused by a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles, even though the nerves and muscles remain normal. The chemical acetylcholine transmits nerve impulses to muscles fibres at the neuromuscular junction causing the muscles to contract. Scientists are investigating as to what triggers the body to develop an autoimmune response and in many cases the thymus gland appears to be involved.
Complications of Myasthenia Gravis?
The possible complications of Myasthenia Gravis can be as follows:
- Restrictions on lifestyle
- Side effects of possible taken medications
- Surgerical complications
- Breathing difficulty – very serious can lead to life threatening
How Myasthenia Gravis can be diagnosed?
The test and examination of the patient can suggest the best alternative for Myasthenia Gravis diagnose.
- Blood test can reveal the antibodies.
- ChestCT Scan is done to investigate the thymus as many patients with MG have a thymus tumour. The thymus is part of the immune system and is a tissue located in the middle of the chest. A thymus usually shows up a swelling visible during CT scan.
- Electromyography is test that shows an abnormality in most patients with MG. An electric stimulus is applied to the nerve and the response in the muscle is recorded.
Myasthenia Gravis Treatment
The use of drugs and surgery, or in together has been very positive in successful treatment of Myasthenia Gravis. With drugs – anticholinesterase agents can help strengthen neuromuscular transmission. However, the drugs are not very accurate to repair the basic deficiency in the acetylcholine receptors, not sufficient enough to allow patient to return to full life activity. The Steroid treatment may be recommended for seriously ill patients. Steroids and other immune suppressive drugs are often effective and produce remission of symptoms by suppressing the body’s immune system.
In several cases you may need to have your blood sent through a special machine that removes the antibody-containing plasma and replace it with antibody-free plasma.
If you are suffering from thymoma, you will need surgery to remove your thymus. The will recommend you to have surgery due to the fact the removal of thymus seems to improve the quality of treatment.