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The different types of myasthenia gravis

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  • Know the different types of myasthenia gravis that can affect your muscles and overall health
  • In some cases, myasthenia gravis can affect ability to breathe. This results in a complication known as a myasthenic crisis, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately

Voluntary muscles are found throughout your body, and myasthenia gravis can affect any of them. The main symptom you should watch out for is muscle weakness, which can appear in specific muscle locations.1

Generalized myasthenia gravis

This type occurs when multiple limbs are affected, such as your arms, legs and neck, as well as the torso. Movement is severely limited due to difficulties in balance and coordination. Your neck may drop, and other ordinary activities such as walking and climbing the stairs can be very difficult and tiring.2

When you develop this form of myasthenia gravis, you will need to make adjustments to your routine to cope with the symptoms. A walking cane for example, can help support your weight if you need to go somewhere.3

Ocular myasthenia gravis

Ocular myasthenia gravis causes ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid4) or diplopia (double vision5,6). An eye patch is usually recommended to help correct double vision, and you will need to switch sides every now and then to avoid eye strain. If you need both eyes open for an important task, you may opt to use medical tape, which won’t hurt your skin when peeled.7

Facial Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis may cause a noticeable facial droop, which can be mistaken for a symptom of stroke.8 The Mayo Clinic also notes that swallowing, chewing and speaking may be affected because of the muscle weakness.9

Myasthenic crisis: A life-threatening complication of myasthenia gravis

In some cases, myasthenia gravis can affect your ability to breathe. This results in a complication known as a myasthenic crisis, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.10 If your forced vital capacity result is equal to or less than 1 liter, treatment may be needed to keep your breathing muscles from breaking down further.11

Myasthenia gravis can also manifest in newborn children

Myasthenia gravis can strike anyone, even newborn children. Infants can develop two forms of the disease:

  • Congenital myasthenia gravis — This is an inherited form of the condition. Generalized symptoms can appear in the newborn baby immediately or shortly after birth.12
  • Transient neonatal myasthenia gravis — This occurs when a mother has myasthenia gravis during childbirth, transferring her muscle-weakening antibodies to her newborn child. This causes the child to temporarily display generalized symptoms, which will gradually get better as after some time.13

Learn More About Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis: Introduction

What Is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms

Myasthenia Gravis Causes

Myasthenia Gravis Types

Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosis

Myasthenia Gravis Treatment

Myasthenia Gravis Prevention

Myasthenia Gravis Diet

Myasthenia Gravis FAQ

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