What is myasthenia gravis?


Know the basics

What is myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune diseases causing neuromuscular disorder. It makes muscles in the eyes, face, throat, arms and legs to get weak and tired. The worst weakness usually occurs during the first 3 years then it will progress slowly.

How common is myasthenia gravis?

Everybody can have myasthenia gravis. However, it is mostly common in woman before 40s and men after 50s. You can minimize the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?

The muscle weakness can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Breathing difficulty because of weakness of the chest wall muscles
  • Chewing or swallowing difficulty, causing frequent gagging, choking, or drooling
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, lifting objects, or rising from a seated position
  • Difficulty talking
  • Drooping head
  • Facial paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness or changing voice
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty maintaining steady gaze
  • Eyelid drooping

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should call your doctor if you have shortness of breath or your symptoms worsen. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes myasthenia gravis?

There are currently no exact causes for myasthenia gravis. However, researcher suspect autoimmune disorder and thymus gland is related. Besides, genetic factor may also causes myasthenia gravis.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for myasthenia gravis?

There are many risk factors for myasthenia gravis, such as:

  • Having thymus gland
  • Having infectious disease
  • On the treatment of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure
  • Having father or mother with myasthenia gravis

Not having risk factors does not mean you cannot get hamstring strains. These factors are for reference only. You should consult your doctor for more details.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is myasthenia gravis diagnosed?

The doctors will make a diagnosis from a complete physical examination, with tests of lungs, reflexes and muscle weakness. In addition, electromyography, Tension test, blood test, and CT scan may also be done.

How is myasthenia gravis treated?

There is no known cure for myasthenia gravis. Treatment may allow you to have periods without any symptoms (remission). Medicines that may be prescribed include: neostigmine pyridostigmine, prednisone, azathioprine, cyclosporine, or mycophenolate mofetil. If myasthenia gravis caused you difficulty in breathing, you may need to be admitted to the hospital where you may need breathing assistance with a ventilator.

Other symptoms are plasmapheresis and immunoglobulin infusion. In plasmapheresis, the clear part of the blood (plasma), which contains the antibodies, will be removed. This is replaced with donated plasma that is free of antibodies or with other fluids.  In immunoglobulin infusion, a large amount of helpful antibodies are given directly into the bloodstream.

If tumors present (cause by myasthenia gravis), doctor may perform surgery to remove the thymus (thymectomy). If you have eye problems, your doctor may suggest lens prisms to improve vision. Surgery may also be recommended to treat your eye muscles. Besides, Physical therapy can help maintain your muscle strength. This is especially important for the muscles that support breathing.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage myasthenia gravis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with myasthenia gravis:

  • Re-examine punctually to keep track on the disease’s progress and your health condition.
  • Follow doctor’s instructions
  • Try to find balance between rest and physical activity to prevent muscle weakness.
  • Get physical therapy to keep muscles strong.
  • For double vision and blurred vision condition, you should visit an ophthalmologist, and do not drive or operate heavy machine.
  • If you have trouble swallowing, try the food with varying concentrations and find one that best suits you.
  • Avoid stress
  • Do not smoke and avoid dust

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia


Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017