Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects the neuromuscular structure of the body. The body’s immune system attacks the nerve signals in the muscles as if they were foreign matter. Myasthenia Gravis is a progressive, degenerative disease that can lead to death if untreated. This disease affects both men and women but at different ages, however it is more common in women and is therefore thought to be linked to hormones. The onset begins for men when in their 60’s while women tend to develop it in their 20’s or 30’s. With Myasthenia Gravis, the body’s immune system’s antibodies interfere with the nerve signals to the muscles, making contracting voluntary muscles difficult. The exact cause of Myasthenia Gravis is not known but many contributing factors have been linked to it such as thyroid conditions, stress, certain medications, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and viral or respiratory illnesses.
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
Early symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis include lack of eye muscle control and focus, slurred speech, and problems swallowing. The facial and throat muscles are often the first areas noticeably affected by the disorder. With the worsening of the condition, one may have a general weakening and loss of control of the limbs making simple tasks such as grasping objects, walking, and controlling facial expressions difficult. If left untreated, muscles in the chest can be affected, which can impair the cardiovascular system. As, with rest, the fatigued muscles recover some, those with Myasthenia Gravis usually feel best in the morning.
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