Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis
Neurologists of Israel's leading private clinic "Herzliya Medical Center" specialise in the treatment of myasthenia gravis in children and adults. Specialists of the Neurological Centre develop the protocols of accurate diagnosis of congenital and acquired forms of this disease. Highly effective methods of treatment and rehabilitation can guarantee a favourable prognosis.
What is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia Gravis is a severe disease of the peripheral nervous system, which based on an autoimmune process that selectively affects neuromuscular synapses (connections). Disorders of impulse transmission from the nerve endings to the muscle fibres result in a development of skeletal muscles weakness. The disease is most common in young women, however, it can develop at any age. Scientists have yet been unable to determine the exact cause of autoimmune reactions development, in which the immune system of the human body starts to produce antibodies against its own healthy cells. Risk factors for Myasthenia Gravis is a viral infection and the condition of severe stress. An autoimmune form is not contagious and is not inherited.
Types of Myasthenia Gravis
There are the following types of Myasthenia Gravis:
- Neonatal form. A relatively rare form of Myasthenia Gravis may develop in the child immediately after birth. The cause is are the mother's antibodies, suffering from a disease, passed through the placental barrier. It is necessary to distinguish the neonatal form of another type of Myasthenia Gravis associated with a genetic mutation COLQ, and inheritable.
- Juvenile Myasthenia Gravis. It develops in childhood and adolescence, usually in girls. It is about 10% of all manifestations.
- Myasthenia Gravis in adults. The most frequent form of the disease. The most common manifestation of the disease starts in women aged 20-30 and men aged 50-60 years.
The symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
Among the main symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis should be noted:
- Ocular manifestations - ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid), diplopia (double vision).
- The weakness of upper and lower extremities muscles. Patients often describe the symptoms of myasthenia gravis as difficulties in going from a sitting to a standing position, as well as climbing the stairs, the inability to raise his hands above his head, reduced tolerance to previous habitual physical activity.
- Speech and swallowing disturbance.
- Severe weakness of the neck muscles.
- Disturbance of facial expressions (mask-like face).
The symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, as a rule, appear heavier than during the day and relieved with rest. The progressive autoimmune process gradually leads to significant functional impairment (including secondary muscle atrophy), and can cause severe disability.
Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis
Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis in the clinic "Herzliya Medical Center" is performed by the best neurologists of country and includes:
- Detailed neurological examination to ascertain the characteristic symptoms.
- Pharmacological clinical test using the drug which blocks the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine - a substance, by which is carried out transmission of impulses through neuromuscular synapses. The introduction of such drugs as Neostigmine (Prostigmin) or Edrophonium (Tensilon) briefly restores muscle strength, and that is an important diagnostic criterion for this disease.
- Laboratory diagnosis of myasthenia gravis by blood tests for antibodies and active autoimmune process.
- Genetic studies in order to eliminate the hereditary forms of myasthenia gravis.
- A study of the impulse speed in the nerve fibres and neuromuscular synapses (electromyography).
Treatment of myasthenia gravis in Israel
Among the main methods of treatment in Israel, it is important to note:
- Anticholinesterase drugs - Neostigmine (Prostigmin) or Edrophonium (Tensilon), a group of drugs which inhibit cholinesterase activity, enhancing contraction of smooth muscle of various organs, as well as skeletal muscle tonus.
- Drugs which inhibit the activity of the autoimmune process, including steroids.
- Removal of the thymus gland. It is reported that after this procedure in patients with myasthenia gravis antibody titer is significantly reduced, which increases the likelihood of prolonged remission.
The prognosis of Myasthenia Gravis
Timely appeal to professionals and early diagnosis can prevent the progression of muscle weakness, as well as the development of serious complications of Myasthenia Gravis. Modern treatment methods of exacerbations of autoimmune process contribute to the achievement of stable remission. Favorable prognosis in myasthenia noted in over 80% of cases. Patients at Clinic "Herzliya Medical Center" have the opportunity to complete a full course of rehabilitation in order to maximize the recovery of motor function.