Myasthenia Gravis Essay

988 words - 4 pages

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is believed to have been discovered as early as 1672 when Thomas Willis, wrote in his book De Anima Brutorum, that "a woman who temporarily lost her power of speech and became 'mute as a fish.'".(Abboud, 1996). Another early description of this disease is documented in colonial correspondence with England. "The excessive fatigues he encountered wrecked his constitution; his flesh became macerated; his sinews lost their tone a warrior chief. He had an elasticity and his eyelids were too heavy that he could not see unless they were lifted up by his attendants. Further, we are told that he was unable to walk; but his spirit rising above the ruins of his body, directed them from litter on which he was carried by his Indians, the onset and retreat of his warriors." While in captivity in Jamestown he was able to rest. After this inactivity he was able to raise himself from the ground to the standing position. Perhaps this warrior in his later years had developed MG(Abboud, 1996). Both of these early descriptions describe a lack of voluntary muscles resolving in great fatigue and weakness. These are definitely signs of myasthenia gravis. So even as far back as the late 1600's people were beginning to see some effects of myasthenia gravis and actually began to learn a little about it.
Description
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a disease in which muscles are quickly fatigued with repetitive use. "Myasthenia gravis is characterized by decremental neuronal response with repetitive nerve stimulation, and evidences itself in a few characteristic, physical ways."(Addoub,1996). A person with Myasthenia Gravis has a flattened smile and droopy eyes, and slow pupil light responses. The person may have a slouched posture appearance after standing for a while. Nasal speech, difficulty chewing and swallowing, dulled facial expression, including difficulty smiling and an ineffective cough due to weak expiratory muscles, are also symptoms of MG. This disorder is also involved with vision changes, double vision, difficulty maintaining steady gaze, frequent gagging or choking, a difficulty talking or chewing, weakness or paralysis that worsens with exertion later in the day, a droopy head, along with poor posture, a difficulty climbing stairs and lifting heavy things, a need to use hands to arise from sitting position, and lastly weakness and paralysis improving with rest(Howard).
Causes
Is a group of diseases, affecting the neuromuscular junction. congenital myasthenia syndrome (CMS, or CMG) is a "cousin" disease that is genetic in nature, meaning the body has a flaw in the chromosomes(Addoub,1996). "MG involves fluctuating levels of weakness of commonly used muscles. Weakness occurs when the nerve impulse does not adequately reach the muscle cells; this is caused by blockage of the action of neurotransmitters (the specific chemicals that transmit signals from nerve cell to muscle cell). Acetylcholine RECEPTORS on...

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