How is myasthenia gravis diagnosed

Myasthenia gravis

What is myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that causes muscles to become weak and tire quickly. The immune system produces proteins (antibodies) that attack the connection between nerves and muscles.

This leads to weakness and rapid fatigue of the affected muscles. Often the eyes are affected first, which often leads to drooping eyelids, blurred vision and double vision. The symptoms often worsen during the day and with exertion, but are better again after rest breaks.

Medicines can be used to strengthen the connection between nerves and muscles. If the diagnosis is made early and if medication is taken on a long-term basis, the prognosis for the sick is very good. In some cases, surgical removal of the thymus will also help.


Myasthenia gravis is a rare condition. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly produces proteins (antibodies) that attack and weaken the body's connections between nerves and muscles.

The cause of this is unknown, but it is believed that an overactive thymus is partially responsible. Women are more likely to develop this condition than men, and it becomes more common with age.


The main symptom of myasthenia gravis is one Muscle weaknessthat worsens as the day progresses. The muscles most commonly affected are in the eyes, face, and neck.

People may notice that:

  • their eyelids droop
  • that they see blurred or double or
  • Have difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing.

If the muscles in the arms and legs are affected, this can lead to problems with walking, poor posture and impaired balance. In some cases the symptoms may suddenly worsen.

These emergencies can cause breathing muscles to weaken, causing severe breathing problems with an inability to cough.

If you are unsure whether these symptoms apply to you, start a symptom analysis.


The diagnosis can be confirmed by symptoms, a neurological exam, and a blood test for antibodies. Other tests of nerve and muscle function may help confirm the diagnosis.


Muscle weakness can be reduced by taking drugs that improve communication between nerves and muscles. If this is not enough, drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cortisone, are used.

In the event of sudden or severe deterioration, further treatment must be given in the hospital. In some cases, surgical removal of the thymus gland helps.


Myasthenia gravis is a lifelong condition. The prognosis depends on the severity of the symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Good treatment can relieve symptoms, which can help many people with myasthenia gravis.