Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system. The condition produces fatigue and weakness in the muscle groups under your control, leading to a breakdown in mobility as the disease progresses.
There is no treatment to cure myasthenia gravis, and it affects people of all ages and genders, with men older than 60-years and women younger than 40-years being the most common risk demographic for the condition.
While there is no cure, medical professionals have some success in treating the symptoms of myasthenia gravis, such as weakness in the arms or legs, drooping eyelids, double vision, and issues with breathing, swallowing, and chewing.
The symptoms reach their peak a few years after diagnosis and individuals suffering from the disease notice that their symptoms dissipate with rest. While myasthenia gravis affects any muscle groups you voluntarily control, it tends to show up first in the facial and neck muscles.
Here are eight causes of myasthenia gravis worth knowing, if you experience any of them, call your medical practitioner for a consultation and diagnosis.
1. Underperforming Thymus Gland
Located behind the sternum – the thymus remains active till puberty, shrinking as the body begins to produce more hormones. The gland produces thymosin, which assists the body in producing T-cells, the white blood cells that fight off infection and disease. Therefore, the thymus gland plays a significant role in the lymphatic system, helping the body fight off autoimmune conditions.
After t-cells mature in the thymus, they move to the lymph nodes, aiding the immune system in fighting off disease. It’s important to note that lymphocytes can develop into cancer cells, regardless if found in the thymus or lymph nodes.
Most healthy adults have a small thymus glad that shrinks over the years after puberty. By the time an adult turns 75-years old, the body has entirely replaced the gland with fatty tissue. Individuals that are suffering from myasthenia gravis experience tumors of the thymus gland – known as “thymomas.” Thymomas are typically malignant and present no cancer threat.