Skip to Content

Myasthenia Gravis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Myasthenia gravis (MG)

is a long-term disease that causes severe muscle weakness. It happens when nerves cannot send signals to your muscles properly. MG usually affects muscles of the eyes, face, neck, arms, and legs. MG is most common in women aged 20 to 40 years and in men aged 60 to 80 years.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Painless, worsening muscle weakness usually seen at the end of the day or after exercise
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelids and facial muscles
  • Slurred speech
  • Fast heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Trouble chewing and swallowing food

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

  • You have severe breathing problems.

Call your doctor or neurologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have diarrhea.
  • You have more weakness than usual.
  • You are having problems swallowing.
  • You are depressed and feel that you cannot cope with your illness.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment:

Symptoms of MG can become severe if they are not treated. You may develop trouble swallowing or breathing. This is a serious condition called a myasthenic crisis that can become life-threatening. The following may be used to treat MG:

  • Medicines may be given to improve energy and strength or to slow your immune system.
  • Plasmapheresis is a procedure to remove abnormal antibodies from the blood.
  • Surgery may be done to remove your thymus gland. This may reduce or prevent future symptoms of MG.

Home safety:

A 4-pronged (pointed) cane or a walker may help you feel safer when you walk. Remove rugs and loose carpeting from the floor to help prevent falls. Chairs with side arms and hard cushions may make it easier to get up or out of a chair. Put grab bars on the walls beside toilets and inside showers and bathtubs. These will help you get up after using the toilet or after bathing. You may want to put a shower chair inside the shower.

Fall Prevention for Seniors

For support and more information:

  • Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc.
    355 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor
    New York , NY 10017
    Phone: 1- 800 - 541-5454
    Web Address: http://www.myasthenia.org

Follow up with your doctor or neurologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Myasthenia Gravis (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.