Most of those with the ocular form of this neuromuscular disease eventually develop weakness in other muscles throughout the body (systemic myasthenia gravis) within one or two years. Systemic myasthenia gravis affects the muscles of the face, eyes, arms, and legs, as well as the muscles used for chewing, swallowing, and talking. When the muscles necessary for breathing are affected, a patient is said to be in myasthenic crisis — a life-threatening situation.

Typically, people with myasthenia gravis will experience periods of muscle weakness followed by periods of few to no symptoms.

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