What is myasthenia gravis?

Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the acetylcholine receptors that bridge nerve endings and muscle tissues. This in turn reduces the ability of the neurotransmitter compound acetylcholine to stimulate the muscles. Patients with myasthenia gravis experience increasing muscle weakness during activity, which is relieved during rest. The condition has a pronounced effect on muscles involved in eye movement, talking, chewing, and swallowing. Other muscle groups are also affected, including those involving breathing, which means that patients may be vulnerable to respiratory paralysis.

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The name "myasthenia gravis," which is Latin and Greek in origin, literally means "grave muscle weakness." With current therapies, however, most cases of myasthenia gravis are not as "grave" as the name implies. In fact, for the majority of individuals with myasthenia gravis, life expectancy is not lessened by the disorder.

The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness that increases during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Certain muscles such as those that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expressions, chewing, talking, and swallowing are often, but not always, involved in the disorder. The muscles that control breathing and neck and limb movements may also be affected.

This answer is based o source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder due to a problem in communication between nerves and muscles. The resulting muscle weakness can involve any and all of the muscles that you have voluntary control over, but it most commonly occurs in the eyes, face, throat, arms, and legs. Although there are ways to relieve symptoms, there is no cure for myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a rare autoimmune disease in which the immune system interferes with the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. People with myasthenia gravis develop severe, sometimes life-threatening, weakness. People benefit from the care of physicians who have extensive experience treating myasthenia gravis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.