Common myasthenia gravis symptoms are is droopy eyelids, fatigue or weakness following previously normal activities, and eyesight problems.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder which results from the body’s own destruction of specific receptors between the nerves and muscles.
The decrease in these receptors on muscle cells causes poor communication between nerves and muscles and muscle weakness throughout the body.
The disorder can increase in severity spontaneously in individuals in episodes (myasthenia crisis) which may cause serious complications. Between these episodes affected individuals may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
The disorder occurs more frequently in women and between the ages of 20 to 40 years. A proportion of individuals with myasthenia gravis have a tumor of the thyroid gland which likely contributes to the automimmune disorder.
Myasthenia gravis symptoms:
- droopy eyelids
- poor eyesight – double vision
- difficulty speaking
- weakness of limbs
- problems swallowing
- weak hand strength
- fatigue or weakness following previously normal, easy activities
- episodes of severe, overall weakness
Diagnosis is typically through observation of symptoms, drug tests to restore nerve-muscle communication, and muscle function testing.
Treatment is typically with drugs which increase the level of the compound which is responsible for nerve-muscle stimulation (acetylcholine). Drugs may also be prescribed which suppress the immune system to slow the autoimmune destruction of the receptors on muscle cells.
One other treatment method is the removal of the elements responsible for the autoimmune activity from the blood.