Myasthenia gravis is a progressive chronic autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness and rapid fatigue. When the pathology develops, the acetylcholine receptors are affected by autoantibodies, resulting in the development of muscle weakness. If left untreated, the swallowing mechanism and respiratory muscle function are impaired, which can seriously threaten the patient's life.
Symptoms and manifestations
In 85% of cases, myasthenia gravis begins with ocular symptoms and progresses to a generalized form within 2 years. Among the first signs of myasthenia gravis are drooping eyelids (often bilateral, but appearing to varying degrees in both eyes). In addition, the patient is disturbed by double vision, blurred vision. Symptoms are dynamic — they increase with prolonged wakefulness and decrease after rest.
In the generalized form of myasthenia gravis, such clinical signs are added:
• weakness of the limb and body muscles (the patient cannot lift his arms up, it is difficult for him to walk);
• slurred speech;
• ingestion of liquid food into the nose;
• problems with keeping the head straight (falls on the chest);
• change in the tone of voice, etc.
Depending on the disease’s form, not all listed symptoms may be present. In any case, if signs of neuromuscular transmission disorder appear, an immediate appointment with a physician is required.
In Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (this is not myasthenia gravis, but the so-called myasthenic syndrome, which occurs with cancer pathology), the symptoms develop from the bottom up, that is, weakness in the legs first, it becomes difficult to walk, climb stairs.