Myasthenia Gravis: Beyond Muscle Weakness
Have you experienced fluctuating muscle weakness in your limbs, weird drooping of your eyelids, double vision, or even difficulty smiling or chewing that is affecting your daily life? You could possibly be dealing with a rare neuromuscular disease known as Myasthenia Gravis. Leesburg Neurologist, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, explains what Myasthenia Gravis is, what symptoms to look for, and when to see a neurologist for help.
What is Myasthenia Gravis (MG)?
Myasthenia Gravis (or MG) come from the Greek and Latin words meaning “grave muscular weakness.” MG is a rare disease which in its most common form is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups.
In the U.S, it is estimated that 20 in 100,000 have Myasthenia Gravis; and approximately 36,000 to 60,000 cases. MG can occur in anyone, regardless of race, gender, and age according to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America.
MG targets the communication point between the nerve and the muscle. In MG, antibodies block, alter, or destroy the neurotransmitter receptors on muscle tissue. This causes the muscles to not be able to receive the signal to contract, thus causing people with MG to become weak.
Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms fluctuates and varies in severity and can occur in many combinations. MG causes weakness in voluntary muscles with activity and can only improve with rest. Symptoms may include:
- droopy eyelids,
- double or blurred vision,
- weak arms,
- weak hands,
- weak legs,
- weak neck and/or face
- and excessive fatigue.
If very severe, MG can result in difficulty chewing, smiling, swallowing, talking, or even breathing.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these issues or a combination of symptoms, schedule an appointment immediately with an experienced Leesburg Virginia neurologist Dr. Sarbjot Dulai.
Causes of Myasthenia Gravis
Even though MG is a neuromuscular disorder that is thought to be caused by an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body sends signals to attack your body’s healthy cells. Your nerves send messages through receptors to tell your muscles to work. Then a chemical called acetylcholine delivers this message. When this chemical binds to a nerve receptor it is what causes the muscle to contract. However, in a person with MG, they do not have enough acetylcholine receptors because the immune system attacks, blocks, and destroys the acetylcholine receptors.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Unfortunately, there is still no cure for Myasthenia Gravis. Since the symptoms for MG can also be found in other autoimmune or neuromuscular disorders, a correct diagnosis can be difficult to find. However, with the guidance of Dulles neurologist Dr. Dulai, who has worked successfully with many MG patients, a correct diagnosis and tailored treatment for each case is possible.
After diagnosis, treatment for most individuals can significantly improve their muscle weakness and lead normal or nearly normal lives. Some cases of MG have gone into remission—either temporarily or permanently—and muscle weakness may disappear completely. Stable, long lasting remissions and control of symptoms are the goals of treatment.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sarbjot Dulai to determine if you have Myasthenia Gravis.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, don’t wait until they worsen. Make an appointment to see Dr. Sarbjot Dulai today. Call Neurology Associates at (703) 726-6393 to schedule a consultation.