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Myasthenia Gravis

Summary

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that causes weakness in your voluntary muscles. These are the muscles that you control. For example, you may have weakness in the muscles for eye movement, facial expressions, and swallowing. You can also have weakness in other muscles. This weakness gets worse with activity, and better with rest.

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease. Your body's immune system makes antibodies that block or change some of the nerve signals to your muscles. This makes your muscles weaker.

Other conditions can cause muscle weakness, so myasthenia gravis can be hard to diagnose. Tests used to make a diagnosis include blood, nerve, muscle, and imaging tests.

With treatment, the muscle weakness often gets much better. Medicines can help improve nerve-to-muscle messages and make muscles stronger. Other drugs keep your body from making so many abnormal antibodies. These medicines can have major side effects, so they should be used carefully. There are also treatments which filter abnormal antibodies from the blood or add healthy antibodies from donated blood. Sometimes, surgery to take out the thymus gland helps.

Some people with myasthenia gravis go into remission. This means that they do not have symptoms. The remission is usually temporary, but sometimes it can be permanent.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Start Here

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in
  • (Muscular Dystrophy Association) - PDF Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America)

Living With

  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Office of Disability Employment Policy)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America)

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Women

  • (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) - PDF

Patient Handouts

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