Myasthenia gravis is a chronic neuromuscular and autoimmune disorder characterized by fatigue and weakness of the skeletal muscles, otherwise known as voluntary muscles. Muscle weakness occurs because there is a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. The autoimmune attack occurs when the body forms antibodies against the nicotinic acetylcholine postsynaptic receptors located at the neuromuscular junction. It is relatively a rare condition.
Even though myasthenia gravis can affect anyone at any age, it is usually diagnosed among women under the age of 40 years old, or men over the age of 60 years old. Warm weather, emotional stress, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, viral infections, immunization, or surgery can make myasthenia gravis symptoms worse.
Myasthenia gravis has no cure. However, treatment can help relieve its signs and symptoms. Common myasthenia gravis symptoms include:
Symptom #1: Ptosis
Ptosis or drooping of the eyelid is a common myasthenia gravis symptom. This is perhaps the very first sign of this chronic neuromuscular disorder because the levator palpebrae superioris muscle is affected. If left untreated, ptosis can progress and get worse.
Ptosis can be either uni or bilateral. The drooping of the eyelid may not be always visible. Ocular symptoms of myasthenia gravis often tend to come and go, appearing more often when the person is under stress, when exposed to bright sunlight, when dealing with another health problem, when recovering from surgery, etc.