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The tale of Myasthenia Gravis explained!

While doing our household chores or any other strenuous activity, the strong and powerful contraction and relaxation are carried out via delicate and sensitive never signals from CNS. If the nerve connection is distorted or lost, this could give rise to a number of problems. Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is one of the neuromuscular diseases characterized by the impaired nerve to muscle connection. As a result, the bizarre or low nerve signals lead to the muscle weakness. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America claimed that MG is the most common and primary neuromuscular disorder. It’s a rare condition and affects women more than men. The chances of developing Myasthenia Gravis increases between ages 40 - 60.

There is no cure available, but the symptom management can make the life of a patient better and improved.

What are the classes of Myasthenia Gravis?

Classes are divided into 5 main classes based on symptoms progression.

The classes are:

  1. Class I: Ocular muscles mainly start to weaken and eye closure is particularly difficult. However, other body muscles remain normal.
  2. Class II: The weakness in ocular muscles is progressed and weakness in other muscles is also mild. The axial muscles, oropharyngeal muscles and respiratory muscles decrease their power.
  3. Class III: The moderate weakness in ocular muscles, axial muscles, oropharyngeal muscles and respiratory muscles.
  4. Class IV: The severe weakness in ocular muscles, axial muscles, oropharyngeal muscles and respiratory muscles. The Feeding tube is used for food administration.
  5. Class V: A patient is bed bound and may need the intubation with or without the assistance of mechanical ventilation.

What are the causes of Myasthenia Gravis?

When your immune system starts to attack the acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for a nerve to cell communication, the muscle weakness will occur and this condition is referred to as Myasthenia Gravis.

Most of the adults with Myasthenia Gravis have also enlarged thymus gland - a gland responsible for producing the antibodies protecting us from the viruses and bacteria. It tends to be large in childhood, but it becomes smaller as we ages. Complications include thymomas and lymphoid hyperplasia, specifically of thymus gland, which are prominent in people with myasthenia gravis.

How to know if you’re suffering from MG?

Its symptoms vary from person to person, but the main symptom is muscle weakness in voluntarily controlled muscles. If you’re noticing that your muscle weakness is worst while doing any activity and get better while resting, you should get your complete medical screening done immediately. Following are the other symptoms which shouldn’t be ignored:

How to diagnose the Myasthenia Gravis?

Firstly, your doctor will ask the past medical history, co-morbid (if any) and symptoms. They’ll also check the strength and power of your muscles, impairments in eye movements, sensations and balance and coordination. Based on your answers and their assessment, they’ll suggest the following tests and measures to complete the diagnoses:

Myasthenia Gravis Treatment

As the cure for MG isn’t discovered yet, its symptoms management is mainly dependent on the severity, distribution and progression of a disease.

The medications given to a person with MG is anticholinesterase, corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents. To modify the functioning of immune system, the plasmapheresis and thymectomy are often suggested. If the respiratory failure is noticed, transfer to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and intubation are the lines of treatment. Intravenous immunoglobulin is also started intravenously to alter the abnormal response of the immune system.

Stem cell therapy and Myasthenia Gravis

The success of stem cell therapy in treating Myasthenia Gravis is undoubtedly opening the new ways of curing MG. The JAMA Neurology Journal published a study in 2016, exploring that the Autologous Hematopoietic stem cells transplantation provides a long-term remission and ease the symptoms in seven people experiencing a severe form of MG. The stem cells therapy can help a person with MG live a symptom-free life through long remission phase.

Lifestyle changes along with the medicinal approaches can improve the condition. However, its prognosis depends on how severe the disease is and how much it’s progressed.


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