About Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia Gravis is a pathological condition of the neuromuscular system characterized by severe weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body. These muscles are also called the skeletal muscles and are normally used for movement. The primary reason behind development of Myasthenia Gravis is impairment in communication between the nerve cells and the skeletal muscles. As a result of this impairment in communication, the muscle contractions are significantly affected causing muscle weakness in the affected individual.
Studies reflect that Myasthenia Gravis is one of the most common neuromuscular transmission disorders in the United States even though Myasthenia Gravis in itself is quite rare occurring in approximately 20 out of every 100,000 individuals in the United States. As of now, there is no cure for Myasthenia Gravis other than symptomatic treatment to calm down the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the individual affected with Myasthenia Gravis.
Although Myasthenia Gravis can affect people of any age, it is mostly seen in females under the age of 40 and above the age of 65 in males. For treatment to be effective and for early diagnosis, it is important to understand the presenting feature of this condition. This article highlights some of the presenting features of Myasthenia Gravis.
What Are The Primary Features Of Myasthenia Gravis?
Weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body is the primary presenting feature of Myasthenia Gravis. An individual with Myasthenia Gravis will have difficulty ambulating due to weakness in the muscles of the lower extremities. This weakness tends to get worse with repeated use of the muscle. The symptoms tend to get better with rest.
This is precisely the reason as to the symptoms of this condition waxing and waning.
However, there will be gradual worsening of the symptoms with time in individuals with Myasthenia Gravis and will reach their peak after a few years of the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis. The muscles that are most commonly affected by Myasthenia Gravis are:
- Muscles of the eye causing drooping of the eyelids and diplopia
- Muscles of the face causing problems with speaking, dysphagia, problems with chewing, problems with smiling and other facial expressions
- Muscles of extremities and neck resulting in problems with walking, holding objects in the hand, and holding the head up. The muscles of the upper extremities tend to get affected more than the lower extremities in individuals with Myasthenia Gravis.
It is recommended that the individual should go to the primary physician if he or she has problems with breathing, seeing, chewing or swallowing or problems ambulating for treatment as these are classic signs of Myasthenia Gravis.