Myasthenia gravis refers to a condition in which there is a weakness and quick fatigue or tiredness of voluntary muscles. Myasthenia gravis occurs when there is a loss of communication between muscles and nerves.
What Are The Early Symptoms Of Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia gravis can affect any of the voluntary muscles. However, some muscle groups are more affected than others. The early signs and symptoms of myasthenia gravis are usually associated with eye movements
- There may be ptosis, which is a drooping of one or both the eyelids
- There may also be diplopia, which is also known as double vision and can be vertical or horizontal. This condition gets better when one eye is closed
- Apart from these signs and symptoms, other early signs and symptoms involve facial movements. This can include the face and throat muscles.
- There may be a change in your speaking. Your voice may fell nasal or very soft. It depends on which muscles are affected.
- There may be a difficulty in swallowing, which may make you choke on the food. Due to this, it is difficulty in eating, drinking or taking medicines. Sometimes, it may so happen that the fluids that you are attempting to drink may come out from your nose
- You may experience problems in chewing. While eating a meal, the muscles may tire themselves out half way in between
- There may be a loss of your facial expressions, such as you may lose your smile if your facial muscles are affected
- Your neck and limbs may get affected too
- However, this happens together with other muscles being affected in the body, like muscles of eyes, face and throat
- Generally, arms are commonly affected than legs. If legs are affected, you could face problems with walking
- If neck is affected, you may find it difficult to hold your head. (1)
Causes Of Myasthenia Gravis
The nerves interact with the muscles through neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that appropriately fit in the receptors on the muscles. These receptors are situated at the junction where nerves and muscles meet. In myasthenia gravis your own immune system creates antibodies that destroy or block the receptors for a neurotransmitter by the name acetylcholine. As the muscles lack in the receptors, they receive inadequate signals for communication and thereby become weak. These antibodies may also block tyrosine kinase, a type of protein which builds the nerve-muscle junction. This can lead to myasthenia gravis.
According to some studies, the thymus gland may be responsible for the triggering of antibodies that block the neurotransmitters. Some people with myasthenia gravis may also have tumors of the thymus gland. These tumors are not usually cancerous.
There may be other causes for myasthenia gravis, apart from those mentioned above. These may include genetic factors and hereditary conditions
Some factors can make myasthenia gravis worse. These may include-
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- A medical condition or a disease
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Certain medications like quinine, beta blockers, anesthetics and antibiotics (1)
Complications Seen In Myasthenia Gravis
The complications seen in myasthenia gravis can be usually treated. However, sometimes there might be complications that might be life threatening.
- This is a life-threatening condition that is seen when the muscles responsible for breathing are affected and cannot perform their jobs effectively.
- This condition requires an emergency medical attention and sometimes may require mechanical breathing
Tumors Of The Thymus Gland-
- Tumors of thymus gland are seen in several people affected with myasthenia gravis
- These tumors are usually not cancerous
- Other disorders are seen in people with myasthenia gravis. These may include a hyperactive or hypoactive thyroid gland and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.(1)
The early symptoms of myasthenia gravis are usually associated with eye movements and face and throat movements. Neck and limbs may also get affected; however, it happens together with other muscles in the body.
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