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Myasthenia gravis can be a terrifying condition because it causes loss of control of parts of the body. This condition arises when there is a lack or complete loss of communication between the nervous system and the voluntary muscles. Luckily, this condition does not affect involuntary muscles such as those in your lungs or your heart. Rather myasthenia gravis leads to issues in the extremities -- the arms and legs -- and other parts of your body.

While most of the muscles in the chest are involuntary, some are voluntary and can be affected by myasthenia gravis. Along with difficulty breathing, other symptoms of myasthenia gravis include difficulty speaking, walking, lifting objects, and carrying out actions that require fine motor skills. This condition affects the eyes, mouth, neck, throat, face, and all four limbs.

Myasthenia gravis occurs when your body begins producing dangerous antibodies that block communication between your muscles and the nervous system. Because there is a blockage, the muscles cannot receive commands from the nervous system and therefore stop working. While no one is certain why myasthenia gravis begins, the antibodies that cause it are thought to be produced by the thymus gland.

There is currently no cure for myasthenia gravis. But if it is caught in time, treatment can slow its progress and allow the patient years of productive life. As the condition progresses, some dangerous side-effects that start to occur. For example, at some point, muscles in the lungs could become too weak to continue working and require emergency treatment.

Common Symptoms

  • Slurred Speech
  • Swallowing Problems
  • Difficulty Chewing
  • Facial Paralysis
  • Weak Arms
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.