Myasthenia Gravis

The words myasthenia gravis, come from Latin and Greek in origin, means “grave, or serious, muscle weakness.” Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, that are responsible for breathing and moving branches of the body, including the arms and legs.

The attribute of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness which worsens after long periods of activity and improves after long periods of rest. Some muscles like those that control eye and facial expression, eyelid movement, chewing, swallowing and talking are often but not always involved in the disorder. The muscles which are a charge of control breathing and neck and limb movements can also be affected. To make it that there is no known specific cure but with current therapies, most cases of myasthenia gravis are not as “grave” as the name implies. Available cares can help to control symptoms and often allow people to have a relatively high quality of life.

The cause of myasthenia gravis is by an error in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. It sometimes happens when normal interaction between the nerve and muscle are interrupted at the neuromuscular point, the place where nerve cells join with the muscles they control.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals in which neurons, or brain cells, use to receive and send information. Normally when electrical signals or impulses move down a motor nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter named acetylcholine. Acetylcholine moves from the nerve ending and ties with acetylcholine receptors on the muscle. The tie of acetylcholine to its receptor activates the muscle and causes a muscle contraction.

In myasthenia gravis, antibodies which immune proteins alter, block or destroy the receptors for acetylcholine at the neuromuscular point, that hinders the muscle from contracting. In other people myasthenia gravis, this is caused by antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor itself.

The symptoms to be noted in anybody with condition are: drooping of one or both eyelids (ptosis), blurred or double vision (diplopia) due to weakness of the muscles that control eye movements, a change in facial expression, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, impaired speech (dysarthria) and weakness in the arms etc.

The conditions of the myasthenia gravis can be treated by thymectomy, anticholinesterase medications, Immunosuppressive drugs, Plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin, Plasmapheresis, Intravenous immunoglobulin. But it is unfortunate that some people with myasthenia gravis do not respond favorably to available treatment options, which usually include long-term suppression of the immune system.

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