About Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia Gravis is a neuromuscular transmission disorder characterized by abnormal weakness in the skeletal or voluntary muscles of the body. An impaired communication between nerve cells and skeletal muscles is believed as a result of this impaired communication, the contractions of the skeletal muscles get affected causing significant weakness in these muscles of the affected individual.
Studies show that Myasthenia Gravis is one of the most common neuromuscular transmission disorders even though by itself this condition is quite rare affecting only about 20 out of 100,000 individuals in the United States. As of yet, there is no definite cure for Myasthenia Gravis although treatments are available to calm down the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the affected individual. Myasthenia Gravis can affect individuals of any age but is mostly seen in females under the age of 40 and males above the age of 65. For timely intervention and treatment, it is important to know what may cause Myasthenia Gravis..
How Do You Get Myasthenia Gravis?
Production of certain antibodies by the immune system of the body, which prevent neurotransmitters, which act as a communication channel between the muscles and the nerves, results in fewer signals being received by the muscles through the nerves causing muscle weakness characteristic of Myasthenia Gravis. These antibodies are called acetylcholine receptor antibodies.
Certain antibodies also block function of a protein named muscle specific receptor tyrosine kinase. This protein functions by forming the neuromuscular junction through which neurotransmitters transmit the signals to and from the muscle. This also results in impaired communication between the muscles and the nerve cells causing Myasthenia Gravis.
The thymus gland is also believed to play a role in the development of Myasthenia Gravis. The thymus gland is a small gland located just below the breast bone. This gland forms a part of the immune system of the body. Studies suggest that the thymus gland activates the production of antibodies that block acetylcholine causing Myasthenia Gravis.
The thymus gland is quite large in infants but is extremely small in adults. In some cases, genetic makeup of an individual may also play a part in the development of Myasthenia Gravis.
In very rare cases, Myasthenia Gravis can be inherited in which a female with Myasthenia Gravis gives birth to a child with this condition. However, with adequate treatment complete recovery from this form of Myasthenia Gravis.