Myasthenia Gravis
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles. The name comes from the Greek and Latin words meaning ďgrave muscular weakness.Ē Dr. Ed Hill tells us more about this disease in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disorder characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. The cause of myasthenia gravis is a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles.

The disorder affects only the function of your muscles, and the muscle weakness you experience improves when you rest. Myasthenia gravis may cause double vision, drooping eyelids, difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing and breathing, as well as weakness of your limbs.

Myasthenia gravis can affect people of any age, but itís more common in women younger than 40 or older than 70, and in men older than 50. Thereís no cure for myasthenia gravis, but treatments can help control the symptoms. These treatments include medications, thymectomy, or removal of the thymus, and plasmapheresis, or plasma exchange.

Treatment will be determined for each individual depending on the severity of the weakness, which muscles are affected and the individualís age and other associated medical problems.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Ed Hill.