Myasthenia Gravis is an auto immune disease characterized by attack on the nerve-muscle junction. Myasthenia gravis involves weakness and fatigue of any group of voluntary muscles. This condition tends to worsen with activity and improves with rest. Muscles that are usually involved include those that control eyelid movement, facial expressions, swallowing and talking. Breakdown in the communication between muscles and nerves is caused by antibodies produced by the immune system. The production of these antibodies is believed to originate from the thymus gland.
Typical symptoms of MG include drooping eyelids, unstable gait or change in facial expressions. The patient suffering from Myasthenia gravis may experience fatigue on repetitive movements and muscle weakness in the limbs. There may be signs of double vision. Some patients suffer from slurred speech and difficulty in swallowing or speaking. In severe cases, neck muscles and muscles controlling breathing can be affected.
Often diagnosis of myasthenia gravis takes time since the symptoms are mistaken for those of other neurological disorders. Blood test to check for the presence of immune molecules or acetylcholine receptor antibodies aids in detecting any excessive levels of antibodies. The edrophonium test involves injection of edrophonium into the muscle to find out whether the cause for muscular weakness is MG. An EMG (electromyography) is used to diagnose myasthenia gravis by checking for impaired nerve-muscle transmission. Spirometry aids in assessing the respiratory function to check if the patient's respiratory muscles re affected.
Treatment for MG hinges on the patient's age and the muscles that are affected as well as severity of the muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis can be controlled with medications such as immunosuppressive drugs and anticholinesterase agents. A surgical removal of the thymus gland helps in reducing symptoms in many patients suffering from Myasthenia Gravis. In severe cases of myasthenia gravis, Plasmapheresis is resorted to. Here, the blood of the patient is passed through a filter to remove some antibodies. Another form of therapy is to provide the patient with intravenous immune globulin to alter the response of the immune system.
All vision problems need not necessarily stem from the eye. Some vision problems involve the brain. Neuro ophthalmology is the sub specialty of both neurology and ophthalmology. A neuro ophthalmologist is a Physician who specializes in the diseases affecting vision that originates from the nervous system. Conditions such as optic nerve disorders, loss of vision from central nervous system disease, double vision diplopia and involuntary movement of the eyes nystagmus are some of the disorders under the purview of a neuro ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist attends to patients with disease or injury in the eye ball, cornea and the lens or into the eyeball at the retina inside the eye. If any problem occurs behind the eye in the optic nerve or in some distinct visual pathways connecting the brain, it requires the special skills of a neuro ophthalmologist.
A neuro ophthalmologist could be an ophthalmologist or a neurologist with additional special training. After completing a residency program in any one of the two specialty areas, they take a fellowship in neuro ophthalmology for a year or two before starting to practice as a neuro ophthalmologist. A neuro ophthalmologist attends to a full spectrum of neuro ophthalmic conditions including evaluation, diagnostic and referral services of rare and complex disorders. A neuro ophthalmologist caters to:
In addition to the above, a neuro ophthalmologist provides emergency evaluation of a wide variety of disease that can cause visual loss. Unexplained visual loss can arise out of uncommon disease conditions like myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, mitochondrial disease and other muscular diseases that affect the eye. The neuro ophthalmologist uses special testing techniques including visual fields, visual evoked response, imaging studies such as CT, MRI and Angiography and ultrasound to diagnose the disease patterns. It becomes necessary for the neuro ophthalmologist to work closely with other medical specialists to offer multidisciplinary care and solution for complex cases.
Dysarthria is a condition where speech is slurred due to muscular problems. When it occurs in children, it is called developmental dysarthria. In later life, it can occur due to a stroke, brain tumor, Parkinson's disease, Multiple sclerosis, Myasthenia gravis or Cerebral palsy.
The patients tend to exhibit quieter or slurred speech, hoarse voice or altered speech rhythm. Swallowing problems might be noticed. A laryngoscopy might be done. MRI or CAT scans of the brain might be ordered. Barium swallow, Nerve conduction tests and electromyogram are other diagnostic tests that help detect the cause for Dysarthria.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 21, 2019