| Share
 

myasthenia gravis

myasthenia gravis (mĪəsthēˈnēə gräˈvĭs) [key], chronic disorder of the muscles characterized by weakness and a tendency to tire easily. It is caused by an autoimmune attack on the acetylcholine receptor of the post synaptic neuromuscular junction. The initiating event leading to antibody production is unknown. The disease is most common between the ages of 20 and 40 and more frequent in women. The muscles of the neck, throat, lips, tongue, face, and eyes are primarily involved. Exertion quickly brings on difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and talking. The eyelids may droop, and there are visual disorders. Myasthenia gravis is transmitted passively to fetuses from infected mothers, a syndrome call neonatal myasthenia. Congenital myasthenia is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of neuromuscular transmission beginning in childhood, usually with ophthalmoplegia. Life-threatening myasthenic crisis, in which the diaphragm is affected and the patient has respiratory failure, occurs in 10% of the patients. Treatment of the disease includes the use of cholinesterase inhibitors, thymectomy, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive agents and plasmapheresis (see apheresis). Prolonged rest is likely to restore some of the muscle function; restricted activity at all times and complete rest during periods of aggravation of the illness are necessary.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on myasthenia gravis from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pathology


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring