Myasthenia Gravis

mgWhat is Myasthenia Gravis (MG):-

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness. An autoimmune disease is the one where the immune system of the body goes against itself.

It is caused by a mistaken immune response to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR), which are found in junctions between muscles and the nervous system. The body produces antibodies that attack these AChR receptors, preventing signals from reaching the muscles.

It affects the neuromuscular junction, interrupting the communication between nerve and muscle, and thereby causing weakness.

A disease characterized by progressive fatigue and generalized weakness of the skeletal muscles, especially those of the face, neck, arms, and legs, caused by impaired transmission of nerve impulses following an autoimmune attack on acetylcholine receptors.Increased weakness with exertion, and improvement with rest, is a characteristic feature of myasthenia gravis (MG).

About 30,000 people in the United States are affected by myasthenia gravis (MG).

It can affect both males and females. Generally it affects women under the age of 40 and men over 60 years of age. However, it could occur at any age. A mother may pass Myasthenia gravis to her fetus. It is not a genetic disease. It is not contagious.

Spontaneous remission can occur in any patient and remain for years. In a study of the natural history of generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) among 168 patients (with an average followup of 12 years), 14% experienced complete remission.

                          All the conventional medicines and drugs have some unwanted effects, or side effects, and those commonly used to treat myasthenia gravis (MG) are no exceptions. Several drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, enhance communication between nerves and muscles. These drugs don’t treat the underlying problem.

Cholinesterase inhibitors include neostigmine (Prostigmin) and pyridostigmine (Regonol, Mestinon) in the conventional treatment.

Corticosteroids inhibit the immune system, limiting antibody reduction. Prolonged use of corticosteroids can lead to serious side effects. Side effects include:

  • These drugs depress the immune mechanism of the body.
  • Some patients may develop fever, chills, joint and muscle pains, vomiting and dizziness.
  • These drugs may depress the formation of new blood cells, just as it depresses antibody-forming cells.
  • Functioning of liver may be affected.
  • Bone thinning.
  • Abnormal weight gain.

Surgical removal of thymus gland may be done in cases where the allopathic / conventional medicines do not give satisfactory results.

Another technique used in the conventional treatment is Plasmapheresis. This procedure can remedy life-threatening stages of myasthenia gravis. Plasmapheresis involves removal of antibodies from your blood that block transmission of signals from your nerve endings to your muscles’ receptor sites.

Blood is taken from your body, passed through a filter that removes the specific antibodies and then returned to your body. This approach is expensive and time-consuming. Also, other forms of therapy are necessary for long-term restoration of muscle strength. Otherwise, the immune system soon makes new antibodies to replace those that have been removed.

                        In contrast homoeopathic treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG) is based on immune correction. With homoeopathy medicines the faulty immune system can be made to work properly, not producing antibodies that are against the body.

Proper prescription of remedies makes the immune system work more efficiently. Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder, which means that there is a fault with the immune system, guided by genetic tendencies and other general factors.

In other words, it is a constitutional disorder, where the whole constitution needs to be addressed. It is a progressively deteriorating condition, calling for some measures to arrest or control the disease process.

Homoeopathic treatment being constitutional in nature treats the disease at a deeper level, to achieve the following:

  • The medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution and so on. The triggering factors and the maintaining cause of the disease are also taken into consideration. This is overlooked by the allopathic practitioners.
  • The remedies help in slowing down the progress of the disease and the development of complications. The treatment can help in inducing the periods which are symptom free and can also assist in improving the immunity so that the patient does not face frequent relapses.
  • The treatment also improves mental and physical stress (triggering factors), and alter the hereditary predisposition to the disease.
  • The remedies can also help to prevent the need for surgery, if the treatment is opted for at the right time.

How homoeopathy helps:-

  • Medicines help improving the power and tone of muscles.
  • Remedies control the progress of the disease.
  • Treatment balances the nervous system so that it can receive messages clearly from the endocrine system (thymus and other glands).
  • Medicines correct the immune mechanism thus treating the problem at its root.

                       Those who are desperately searching for a cure for myasthenia gravis (MG) must consider Homoeopathy on priority. The correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus remedies are designer made unlike conventional medicine in which all patients receive the same surgery or drugs although trade name may be different.

Causes:-

Nerves communicate with the muscles by releasing chemicals, called neurotransmitters, which fit precisely into receptor sites on the muscle cells.

In myasthenia gravis, the immune system produces antibodies that block or destroy many of the muscles’ receptor sites for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. With fewer receptor sites available, your muscles receive fewer nerve signals, resulting in weakness.

Triggering Factors

  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Extreme heat
  • Pregnancy
  • Some medications — such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, quinine and some antibiotics.

Signs & Symptoms:-

Muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis (MG) worsens as the affected muscle is used repeatedly. Symptoms of muscle weakness come and go as the symptoms improve with rest.

It can affect any of the muscles that can be controlled voluntarily. The muscles that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, and swallowing are most often affected. The onset of the disorder may be sudden.

Ocular / Eye muscles: In more than half the people who develop myasthenia gravis (MG), their first signs and symptoms involve eye problems, such as:

  • Drooping of one or both eyelids (ptosis)
  • Double vision (diplopia), which may be horizontal or vertical
  • Blurred vision, which may come and go
  • Gaze-evoked nystagmus (rapid, involuntary, oscillatory motion of the eyeball) and
  • Cogan’s lid twitches (upper lid twitch present when patient looks straight ahead after looking down for 10-15 seconds).

Face and throat muscles: In about 15 percent of people with myasthenia gravis, the first symptoms involve face and throat muscles, which can cause difficulties with :

  • Your speech may be very soft or sound nasal, depending upon which muscles have been affected.
  • You may choke very easily, which makes it difficult to eat, drink or take pills. In some cases, liquids you’re trying to swallow may come out of your nose.
  • The muscles used for chewing may wear out halfway through a meal, particularly if you’ve been eating something hard to chew, such as steak.
  • Facial expressions. Family members may note that you’ve “lost your smile” if the muscles that control your facial expressions are affected.

Arm and leg muscles: Myasthenia gravis (MG) can cause weakness in your arms and legs, but this usually happens in conjunction with muscle weakness in other parts of your body — such as your eyes, face or throat. The disorder usually affects arms more often than legs.

Complications:-

Myasthenic crisis is a medical emergency that develops when muscles that control breathing become severely weakened. This condition may lead to acute respiratory failure and patients often require a respirator to assist breathing during the crisis. Other complications that may develop include choking, food aspiration, and pneumonia.

Diagnosis:-

It is not diagnosed easily. Since weakness can happen in any other disease, mild myasthenia gravis is often not diagnosed. Doctors will generally ask for a blood report to find acetylcholine receptor antibodies.