Myasthenis gravis is caused by an autoimmune condition that damages the muscles’ receptors. These receptors normally receive chemicals from nerve endings, which allows the muscles to work properly. With myasthenia gravis, the autoimmune system produces antibodies that interfere with the receptors, blocking the chemicals that normally travel from nerve endings. Without the chemicals they need to work properly, the muscles become weak.
Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms
The first symptoms of myasthenia gravis often involve the eyes. Often the most common sign is ptosis, or drooping eyelids. This may affect only one eye, but the ptosis may shift from one eye to the other or involve both eyes. If you have myasthenia gravis, you may also feel a fatigue that worsens through the day. Other myasthenia gravis symptoms include:
- Double vision;
- Weakness in the arms or legs; and
- Difficulty breathing, talking, chewing, or swallowing.
Who Is At Risk for Myasthenia Gravis?
There are no known risk factors for myasthenia gravis. Women are more likely to develop myasthenia gravis between the ages of 20 and 40. Men are more likely to develop the condition after the age of 60. However, myasthenia gravis can occur at any age. People who have a family history of myasthenia gravis may be at greater risk for developing the disease.
Myasthenia gravis can worsen with stress, illness and fatigue. Check with your doctor before taking any new prescription or over-the-counter medications, which can also contribute to worsening myasthenia gravis symptoms.
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