Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Myasthenia Gravis Overview

What is myasthenia gravis?
A person with myasthenia gravis has a disorder of the nerves and muscles that results in muscle weakness. The weakness worsens with activity and improves with rest. Myasthenia gravis is caused by an abnormal immune system, which makes antibodies that fight infection. In myasthenia gravis, the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that block the action of chemicals released from nerves. These chemicals are unable to stimulate muscles, resulting in weakness. The cause of the abnormal immune system in myasthenia gravis is unknown.

What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?
The initial symptoms of myasthenia gravis include vision changes, double vision, drooping eyelid, loss of facial expression, slurred speech, difficulty chewing and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms of worsening myasthenia gravis may include arm weakness and leg weakness.

How does the doctor treat myasthenia gravis?
The treatment for myasthenia gravis includes acetylcholinesterase inhibitor medications, immunosuppressant medications, plasmapheresis, and surgery to remove the thymus gland.

Continue to Myasthenia Gravis Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Myasthenia Gravis References
  1. Masaoka A, Yamakawa Y, Niwa H, Fukai I, Kondo S, Kobayashi M, Fujii Y, Monden Y. Extended thymectomy for myasthenia gravis patients: a 20-year review. Ann Thorac Surg. 1996 Sep;62(3):853-9. [8784019]
  2. Schwendimann RN, Burton E, Minagar A. Management of myasthenia gravis. Am J Ther. 2005 May-Jun;12(3):262-8. [15891271]
  3. Sieb JP. Myasthenia gravis: emerging new therapy options. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005 Jun;5(3):303-7. [15907918]
  4. Tireli H, Karlikaya G, Tutkavul K, Akpinar A, Okay T. Myasthenia gravis: how to treat? Acta Myol. 2004 Dec;23(3):140-5. [15938570]
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