(MG) is a problem of the immune system. It causes damage to the connection between the nerves and muscles.
It can lead to muscle weakness that gets worse over time.
Infants of mothers with MG can have a temporary form. It is called neonatal MG. When the baby is born, there may be muscle weakness. It often stops in about 2 months.
The root cause of MG is unknown. Something triggers the immune system to attack healthy tissue. With MG, it attacks a receptor between the muscle and nerves. ACH receptors help nerve signals reach the muscle. When the receptors are damaged signals may not reach the muscle. This is what causes muscle weakness. The more damage there is, the greater the weakness will be.
The thymus is may play a role in some. The thymus is an gland behind the breastbone. It makes antibodies that tell the body what to attack. It is still not clear why the thymus begins to make them.
Neonatal MG is caused by the mother’s abnormal antibodies. The baby gets the antibodies from the mother. The baby will clear these abnormal antibodies in about 2 months. This will stop the muscle weakness.
The goal of treatment is to decrease muscle weakness. It is mainly done by slowing the immune system. A second goal is to avoid a myasthenic crisis. This is when muscles become too weak to let you breathe properly. This is a medical emergency that will need breathing support.
Some may have remission. This is period of time where muscle weakness improves enough to stop treatment. It may be temporary or permanent. Treatment options include:
Medicine can help to calm the immune system. Options include:
Myasthenia gravis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm. Updated July 6, 2018. Accessed January 8, 2019.
What is myasthenia gravis (MG)? Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org/WhatisMG.aspx. Accessed January 8, 2019.
11/9/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113873/Myasthenia-gravis: Kuo CF, Grainge MJ, Valdes AM, et al. Familial aggregation of systemic lupus erythematosus and coaggregation of autoimmune diseases in affected families. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(9):1518-1526.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.