Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. Myasthenia gravis is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles.Treatment can help relieve signs and symptoms, such as weakness of arm or leg muscles, double vision, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing and breathing.Though myasthenia gravis can affect people of any age, it's more common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60.

Signs and symptoms of myasthenia gravis

  • Drooping of one or both eyelids9ptosis)
  • Change in facial expressions
  • Blurring of vision (diplopia) due to weakness of the muscles that control eye movements
  • Difficulty in swallowing and shortness of breath
  • Unstable or waddling gait
  • Impaired speech(dysarthria)
  • Weakness in arms hands, fingers, legs and neck
  • Shortness of breath

When to see a doctor
Talk to your doctor if you have difficulty:

  • Breathing
  • Seeing
  • Swallowing
  • Chewing
  • Walking
  • Using your arms or hands
  • Holding up your head

Factors that can worsen myasthenia gravis

  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Extreme Heat
  • Some medications — such as beta blockers, quinidine gluconate, quinidine sulfate, quinine (Qualaquin), phenytoin (Dilantin), certain anesthetics and some antibiotics

Tips

  • Adjust your eating routine. Try to eat when you have good muscle strength. Take your time chewing your food, and take a break between bites of food. Small meals eaten several times a day may be easier to handle. Also, try eating mainly soft foods and avoid foods that require more chewing, such as raw fruits or vegetables.
  • Use safety precautions at home. Install grab bars or railings in places where you may need support, such as next to the bathtub or next to steps. Keep your floors clean, and move any loose rugs out of areas where you may walk. Outside your home, keep paths, sidewalks and driveways cleared of leaves, snow and other potential debris that could cause you to stumble.
  • Use electric appliances and power tools. You may lose energy quickly when conducting tasks. Try using an electric toothbrush, electric can openers and other electrical tools to perform tasks when possible.
  • Wear an eye patch. Consider wearing an eye patch if you have double vision, as this can help relieve the problem. Try wearing the eye patch while you write, read or watch television. Periodically switch the eye patch to the other eye to help reduce eyestrain.
  • Plan. If you have chores, shopping or errands to do, plan the activity to coincide with the time at which you have the most energy. Also, try to reduce extra walking in your house when working on projects, as it may reduce your energy.