Myasthenia Gravis: What You Need to Know
“Myasthenia gravis” literally means “grave muscle weakness,” but many cases are mild, and life expectancy is normal.
The muscles around the eyes tend to be affected first, causing the eyelids to droop. Patients may experience double vision, weakness in the arms and legs, and difficulties chewing, swallowing, speaking, and breathing. Involuntary muscles, such as the heart muscles, are not affected.
Symptoms often worsen with physical activity and improve after resting or a good night’s sleep. There is no cure, but treatment can relieve and even remove symptoms.
The condition affects 14 to 20 people in every 100,000 in the United States, or between 36,000 and 60,000 people. It can happen at any age, but it is more likely to affect women before the age of 40 years, and men after the age of 60 years.
Signs and symptoms
With myasthenia gravis, the limbs can weaken.
Symptoms of myasthenia gravis (MG) vary widely. In some people, only the eye muscles will be affected, while in others, it can impact many muscles, including those that control breathing.