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Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness that increases with muscle use/exercise, and improves after resting those muscles
  • Weakness of muscles that control:
    • The eyelids
    • Eye movement
    • Facial expression
    • Chewing
    • Swallowing
    • Coughing
    • Breathing
    • Arm and leg movement
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Double and/or blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness of the hand muscles
  • Myasthenic crisis—a severe flare of symptoms, breathing may be significantly impaired

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a neurologist. This type of doctor is an expert in diseases of the nervous system.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests—to identify the presence of abnormal antibodies and to look for thyroid disease (more common in patients with MG)
  • Electromyography (EMG) tests—to reveal abnormalities in muscle functioning
  • Repetitive nerve stimulation—may show progressively increasing muscle weakness over the course of the test
  • Tensilon test—a dose of a medication called edrophonium chloride is given, which will briefly improve muscle weakness
  • CT or MRI scan of the chest—to look for a tumor of the thymus gland (thymoma)
  • Pulmonary function testing —to assess how MG may be affecting your ability to breathe

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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