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Myasthenia gravis: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder at the neuromuscular level, that is, it interferes with the transmission of information between the nerve cell and the fiber of the skeletal or voluntary muscles, which is why this pathology gradually decreases the physical strength in the patient. It is a condition that can affect anyone regardless of gender or age, but it is more common in women between 20 and 40 years of age, while the majority of cases in men is after 60 years. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of myasthenia gravis, avoiding self-medication, since some drugs can worsen its condition.

Although having this disease can mean stopping many of the physical activities to which you are accustomed, and that can deteriorate your physical and mental state, it is important to know that there are a series of procedures that provide relief from symptoms and they give a better quality of life. For this reason, at FastlyHealwe want to inform you everything about myasthenia gravis: causes, symptoms and treatment .

Causes of myasthenia gravis

As in many autoimmune diseases, it is unknown what causes myasthenia gravis , what is known is that this disorder occurs when there is a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles, leading to muscle weakness important.

Under normal conditions, nerve impulses are transmitted from a neuron to the muscle fiber through a chemical called neurotransmitter, but when a person suffers from myasthenia gravis the antibodies destroy the neurotransmitter that is released to give an action response from the muscles. , so this information is not transmitted and the muscle cells are not stimulated.

Antibodies, in addition to attacking or altering neurotransmitters, can also exert an action on the specific receptor for that chemical substance, managing to block it and although the neurotransmitter cannot be eliminated, it cannot be captured and transmitted to the muscle fiber. Likewise, there may be an alteration in the postsynaptic folds, flattening them and interfering with the correct communication of information, since the intensity with which it is generated is insufficient.

On the other hand, it is considered that there could be a relationship between the thymus and myasthenia gravis , since in most patients with this disease they present clusters or nodules of antibodies in the thymus, something that would not normally occur. This organ, as it is responsible for the maturation and differentiation of T lymphocytes from the bone marrow, it is hypothesized that erroneous instructions are established on the production of these immune receptor cells for these neurotransmitters, thus creating the ideal condition for this disorder.

Main symptoms of myasthenia gravis

As the communication of stimuli directed to the muscle fibers is interfered with, they cannot function properly and it leads to muscle weakness . As the disease progresses, it will be more serious, with the possibility of affecting important muscles and compromising life. Among the main symptoms of myasthenia gravis are:

  • Drooping eyelids is one of the first signs and can affect both eyes or one eye and alternate between these.
  • Tiredness, which increases throughout the day.
  • Vision problems, often double vision, and occurs when the muscles responsible for eye movement become weak.
  • Difficulty walking , standing, climbing stairs, reaching for, or lifting objects.
  • Loss of strength in the arms, legs, or neck.
  • Speech disorders, there is a change in voice or it is not understood what the person says, mainly due to weakness in the vocal cords or the tongue.
  • Difficulty in making facial gestures, even facial paralysis occurs.
  • Problems chewing or swallowing, so there could be constant drooling or choking.
  • Choking or difficult breathing, due to weakness in the chest wall muscles that can press on the lungs.

Treatment to relieve myasthenia gravis

There is no treatment for myasthenia gravis , rather it is based on alleviating or reducing the symptoms that occur with this disease. To do this, you must go to the doctor to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the medications that best suit your condition. To begin with, it is likely to indicate a treatment with anticholinesterase drugs, which will help to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, and immunosuppressants, often glucocorticoids, both drugs usually offer partial improvement.

Another alternative to treat myasthenia gravis is through thymectomy, which is the removal of the thymus , a very effective surgery in the reduction and even permanent relief of symptoms, depending on the predisposition of the person and the degree of the disease . Likewise, the doctor may suggest eye muscle surgery if the vision problem is serious or requires it.

Plasmaferis is a technique used mostly in patients with a chronic condition of myasthenia gravis, generally involving respiratory crisis, or as a treatment before any surgical intervention, since its improvement effect is short-term and consists of separating and extracting the plasma with the antibodies that attack the neurotransmitter, it is later replaced by donated plasma without these elements.

A method with very good results as a treatment for myasthenia gravis is intravenous immunoglobulin , it is based on supplying the patient’s bloodstream with a large amount of a type of antibodies necessary to help reduce the damage. It is generally used when other treatments have not worked to alleviate symptoms, however it can have several side effects or contraindications, so the doctor must assess the risk-benefit.

Alternatively, it is possible to accompany these treatments for myasthenia gravis with physiotherapy if the doctor considers it prudent, this will help you prevent a greater loss of muscle strength.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Myasthenia gravis: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Brain and nerves category .

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