All about Myasthenia gravis (MG) | Get Advanced treatment

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is an autoimmune condition that causes signal transmission issues at the neuromuscular junction. As a result, the muscles get fatigue fast and improve after taking rest.

It mostly affects the muscles that regulate eye movements, facial expressions, chewing, and swallowing in the early stages. As the condition worsens, the neck and limb muscles may be affected, making it difficult to hold the head up, walk upstairs, and raise the arms. Breathlessness may occur if left untreated.

Although this condition does not run in families, those who develop autoimmune conditions are more likely to develop myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia Gravis

Symptoms

Initially patients may notice drooping of eyelids and impaired or double vision. Patients may present with difficulty in swallowing and chewing . Generalised weakness usually develops in first 2 years of illness. Myasthenia gravis symptoms, in general, include:

In severe MG conditions the respiratory muscles become so weak that one can't control them. This is a medical emergency that requires the use of a ventilator to assist patients in breathing. Around 15% to 20% of people with myasthenia gravis will have at least one myasthenic crisis. It can be caused by an infection, stress, surgery, or a medical reaction.


Causes

Here are some factors that contribute to the development of MG:

  • Autoimmune response : Myasthenia gravis is primarily an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the body's tissues. The immune system releases antibodies that target and block acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells and muscles, and blocking these receptors disrupts muscle function.
  • Genetic factors : While myasthenia gravis is not directly inherited, there is a genetic component to the disease. Some people may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to developing the condition.
  • Thymus involvement : The thymus gland, part of the immune system, plays a role in developing myasthenia gravis. Sometimes, the thymus gland is abnormally large (thymic hyperplasia) or contains tumors (thymomas) that trigger or exacerbate the autoimmune response. Surgical removal of the thymus (thymectomy) is a standard treatment for myasthenia gravis in cases where the gland is involved.
  • Environmental factors : Certain environmental factors or infections may trigger the onset of myasthenia gravis in individuals genetically predisposed to the condition. However, specific triggers have not been definitively identified.

Risk Factors

Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary disease. A family history of muscular dystrophy puts you at risk of being a carrier or getting the disease.

  • Smoking and tobacco chewing
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Insufficient diet including lower rate of fish consumption.

Diagnosis

Myasthenia gravis can be diagnosed based on the symptoms and certain tests. The doctor will inquire about the medical history and symptoms throughout the physical examination.

  • Edrophonium test : The doctor will give an injection of edrophonium chloride to see if it improves muscle strength. If it happens, it might be an indication of myasthenia gravis.
  • Ice pack test : If you have a drooping eyelid, the doctor may place an ice pack on it for 2 minutes to examine if the cold sensation affects it.
  • Blood test : Routine blood tests to rule out other causes. Achr and musk autoantibodies are to be tested.
  • Repetitive nerve stimulation : This test sends small electrical pulses through electrodes into the muscles to examine if your nerves respond to the impulses.
  • Imaging test : The doctor may recommend a CT scan or an MRI to look for a tumour on the thymus area.
  • Pulmonary functioning tests : The doctor will examine the breathing ability to check if myasthenia gravis has affected the lungs.

Treatment

MG is a treatable condition; with treatment, many patients may live normal lives. Treatment options include

  • Medicines : Anticholinesterase medications, steroids, or medications that may be used to suppress the immune system's reaction (immunosuppressive).
  • Thymectomy : The thymus gland is surgically removed in all patients with myasthenia who has hyperplasia or neoplasm of thymus.
  • Plasmapheresis : A technique in which abnormal antibodies are removed from the blood and replaced with normal antibodies from donor blood.
  • Immunoglobulin : It is a blood product that helps to reduce the immune system's attack on the neurological system. It is administered intravenously (IV).
    Both are useful in patients who are in myasthenia crisis

Make an appointment just in few minutes - Call Us Now


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you live with myasthenia gravis?

Yes, individuals with myasthenia gravis can lead fulfilling lives with the condition. While there is no known cure, effective treatment and symptom management can significantly improve their quality of life. The severity of the condition varies among individuals, and the effectiveness of treatment plays a crucial role in their ability to manage it.

2. Is myasthenia gravis caused by stress?

Myasthenia gravis is not directly caused by stress. However, stress can exacerbate its symptoms, leading to increased muscle weakness and making the condition more noticeable. Managing stress and ensuring adequate rest are essential strategies for individuals with MG to control their condition effectively.

3. Can myasthenia gravis be cured?

Unfortunately, myasthenia gravis currently has no known cure. Nevertheless, several treatment options are available to manage the condition effectively. Medications, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and immunosuppressive drugs, as well as thymectomy (surgical removal of the thymus gland), can help improve muscle function and reduce symptom severity.

4. How do you prevent myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is not typically preventable as it is primarily an autoimmune disorder with genetic factors. It can develop in individuals with a genetic predisposition. Early diagnosis and proper management are essential for individuals affected by the condition to improve their prognosis and quality of life.