Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Myasthenia Gravis is a rare, uncurable disease that is caused by a miscommunication between the nervous system and muscles. Diagnosis requires a medical test by Electromyogram (EMG).
What is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder. It varies from patient to patient, but will generally be characterized by the following symptoms:
- Muscle fatigue
- Droopy eyelids
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blurred or double vision
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
- Soft voice
Myasthenia Gravis is not contagious, nor does it seem to be hereditary, it can occur at any age. It can occur in any race or sex. However, it seems to be more prevalent in adult women and elderly men.
How is Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is usually done with an Anti-Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody test. Acetylcholine is an antibody protein found in the blood of Myasthenia Gravis patients. This antibody is what causes the disconnect between the nervous systems and muscles. The test is performed by means of a blood test. However, this test is not always accurate (misses about 1/5 cases of Myasthenia Gravis). If a patient is showing symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, but they test negative using the Anti-Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody test, they will be given some of these other options for test:
- Anti MuSK Antibody testing
- This is another blood test that can be used if a result from the Acetylcholine Antibody test seems unfeasible. If a person tests negative for acetylcholine antibodies but has Myesthenia Gravis, they likely have seronegative Myasthenia Gravis, which can be tested for, with 40% accuracy, with an Anti MuSK antibody test.
- Sleep tests
By using an EMG (Electromyogram), Dr. Seth Tuwiner can test the functionality and wellbeing of the nerve cells and muscles to see if it lines up with the blood tests to confirm and diagnose a patient with Myasthenia Gravis so they can begin treatment as soon as possible.
What are the common treatments for Myasthenia Gravis?
There are a number of effective treatments for myasthenia gravis, including medications, surgery, or therapy.
Medicinal treatments for Myasthenia Gravis
- Steroids, such a prednisone
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
- Muscle Strengtheners, such as Edrophonium or Physostigmine
Surgical treatment for Myasthenia Gravis
- Thymectomy can be performed to remove the Thymus. Removing the Thymus helps reduce the production of the anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody.
- Usually, Thymectomy is not the only part of your treatment, and is only a portion of the treatment policy for myasthenia gravis.
- Generally, this surgery is not recommended for Ocular Myasthenia Gravis.
Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis in Leesburg, VA
Dr. Seth Tuwiner is a neurologist with a specialty in treating and diagnosing Myasthenia Gravis. If you or a loved one think you might be suffering from Myasthenia Gravis and need a diagnosis confirmed, or have been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis and need the paramount of care, call Virginia Center for Neuroscience at (703) 293-5244.