Myasthenia gravis is a chronic neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness and excessive fatigue of the voluntary muscles.
What causes Myasthenia Gravis?
Normally, the nerves instruct the muscles to move by communicating through an area known as a receptor. The chemical that transports the communication is called acetylcholine. When acetylcholine connects to a nerve receptor, it signals the muscles to contract. In myasthenia gravis, there are less acetylcholine receptors and the body receives less signals, resulting in weakness.
Myasthenia gravis is considered an autoimmune disorder or a disorder that mistakenly destroys some the body’s antibodies (cells that fight off bacteria and virus), resulting in destruction of good cells. In myasthenia gravis, the antibodies attack and destroy the acetylcholine receptors that are needed for muscle contraction.
It is not known what causes the body to produce the antibodies that kill acetylcholine receptors, but it is believed to be related to the thymus gland that makes the antibodies.
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