Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis Meaning 

So, what is myasthenia gravis? Myasthenia Gravis refers to a chronic neuromuscular disease which leads to fatigue and fluctuating muscle weakness. Myasthenia Gravis symptom is visible degrees of weakness in skeletal muscles. Myasthenia Gravis meaning is derived from a Latin word which means 'grave muscle weakness.' Myasthenia Gravis meaning includes the circulation of antibodies which cause nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to be blocked at the postsynaptic neuromuscular joint. These antibodies deter motor neurons from signaling the contraction of muscles. Muscle weakness is also a form of a genetic defect in some part of the neuromuscular junction that is inherited at birth. This is another myasthenia Gravis cause.

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Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms 

Now that we are familiar with myasthenia gravis meaning let us take a look at the symptoms. The primary myasthenia Gravis symptom is the weakness in voluntary skeletal muscles which control muscles in the area. The muscles fail to contract since they become unresponsive to nerve impulses. In the absence of impulse transmission of impulses, communication between nerve and muscles are blocked. The various myasthenia gravis symptoms include double vision, difficulty in talking. Drooping of eyelids, problems in lifting objects, difficulty breathing, difficulty in talking or chewing. The myasthenia gravis definition states that this condition could affect any voluntarily controlled muscle where some are affected more than others. Some of them include eye muscles causing double vision or drooping of eyelids. When this condition affects the face and throat muscles altered speaking, difficulty in chewing and swallowing and limited expressions may occur. These are the types of myasthenia gravis. 


Myasthenia Gravis Causes 

There are a few myasthenia gravis causes. The primary cause is when regular communication between nerve and muscle is interrupted at the neuromuscular joint where the connection of nerve cells and the place they control. The leading myasthenia gravis cause is that the neuromuscular joint is affected with acetylcholine which causes muscle contraction that no longer produces contractions required in muscle movement.  These are the myasthenia gravis causes.


Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis 

Since we have understood the myasthenia gravis meaning, we should understand how such a condition can be diagnosed. This is a long term and autoimmune condition which results in muscular weakness. The symptoms may get worse with age if proper treatment is not received. The first test for myasthenia gravis is a blood test that tests for any antibody which is stopping the signals between muscles and nerves. A high level of antibodies indicates that the person has the condition. Another test for myasthenia gravis is a nerve test which is done if the blood test results are negative. The test is known as electromyography in which small needles are inserted into the muscles for measuring electrical activity. The needles are generally inserted in the eyes or forehead. The electrical recordings indicate whether the condition is present or not. If nothing else a CT scan or MRI scan of the chest helps to assess the size of the thymus. An edrophonium test may also be done.


Myasthenia Gravis Treatment 

There are various myasthenia gravis treatment methods, including both medication and therapy. The disorder is caused by the malfunction of the immune system and attacks body tissues and hence this a non-curable condition. The goal of the treatment is to deal with symptoms and control activity of the immune system. Medications include cholinesterase inhibitors, corticosteroids and immunosuppression that help to control the symptoms of the condition and bring them into manageable proportions. Intravenous therapy aims to treat the condition in the short term or treat the worsening of symptoms before conducting surgery or any other therapy. Another treatment method is surgery which is done in case of tumour in the thymus gland. A thymectomy is done through open surgery and minimally invasive therapy. Rest is also recommended to reduce muscle weakness.


Solved Examples 

1. What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Answer: Myasthenia gravis is the name of a chronic neuromuscular disease that causes a fluctuation of muscles leads to weakness and fatigue. The disorder is primarily caused by the circulation of antibodies that block nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.


Did You Know? 

Myasthenia gravis is a form of autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease refers to a set of diseases in which the immune system attacks the person's own body. The immune system serves typically to protect the body from diseases and infections. These disorders cause abnormally low activity or overactivity of the immune system, which causes the body to attack and damage its tissues. Immune deficiency decreases the body's ability to fight invaders and cause vulnerability to various infections.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What causes myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune problem that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and the proteins which would normally attack harmful foreign substances would attack neuromuscular junctions. The damage in neuromuscular reduces the effect of neurotransmitter substances which is important in the communication between nerve cells and muscles. Although the exact cause of this disorder is unclear to scientists, the muscular dystrophy association states that certain viral or bacterial proteins may cause the immune system to attack acetylcholine. The disorder is caused mainly in people over the age of 40, according to the National Institutes of Health and the disorder is more likely to affect young adults, especially men.

 2. What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis includes symptoms of weakness and rapid fatigue of muscles which are under voluntary control. The disorder is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication process between muscles and nerves. Myasthenia gravis causes muscle weakness which worsens as the affected muscle is put to use. While symptoms usually improve with rest, weakness in muscles can alternatingly come and go. However, the symptoms tend to aggravate over time, usually reaching their worst after the appearance of the first symptoms. The disorder may affect the eye muscles in which both the eyelids may droop and double vision. Face and throat muscles when affected, may cause speech impairment or difficulty in swallowing and chewing.