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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Myasthenia Gravis

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disorder wherein messages sent between the nerves and muscles are blocked and results in weakness of the voluntary muscle group.

Diagnosis

  • Antibody blood tests
  • Edrophonium test
  • Nerve conduction test/repetitive stimulation
  • Single fiber electromyography (EMG)
  • Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Symptoms
  • Ptosis or weak, drooping of one or both eyelids
  • Diplopia or double vision caused by weak eye muscles
  • Facial weakness results to a "snarling" face when attempting to smile
  • Excessive muscle weakness (arms and legs) during or after an activity or due to repeated use of muscle. Improves after rest or sleep.
  • Muscle weakness and fatigability
  • Difficulty in speech due to weakness in palate and/or tongue
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing
  • Fluctuating strength of grip or milkmaid's grip
  • Problems in walking
  • Trouble in talking
  • Shortness of breath or feeling of not getting enough air
Risk Factors
  • Occurs more in women than men
  • Women in their 20's and 30's
  • Men in their 50's and 60's
  • May be triggered by infections, surgery, or drugs such as verapamil, nifedipine, quinine, and procainamide
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Anticholinesterase medications
    • Pyridostigmine. Overdosage may cause side effects as diarrhea, salivation, abdominal creamps, and nausea
  • Immunosuppresive agents such as mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine, tacrolimus azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, rituximab
  • Glucocorticoids such as prednisone
Treatment and Management
  • Thymectomy
    • Involves removal of thymoma (neoplastic change in thymus)
  • Plasmapheresis and Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)
Home Remedies

Lifestyle modifications

  • Eat a well balanced diet. Eat several small meals a day.
  • Eat during times when muscle strength is optimal. Take time to chew and take breaks in between bites.
  • Install bars or railings at home or in places where the patient may need support (in the bathroom or near staircases)
  • Remove rugs or clutter that may cause the patient to stumble. Keep walkways, floorings, or steps clear.
  • Do chores or errands around the times when patient has the most energy
  • Remove stressors since stress may worsen the condition
  • Ask help when it is needed from family members or friends

Health Tips

  • Use a chart to check systematically and in regular intervals whether or not treatment is working
Doctors to Consult
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