Normally when impulses travel down the nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine travels from the neuromuscular junction - the place where nerve cells connect with the muscles they control - and binds to acetylcholine receptors which are activated and generate a muscle contraction. In myasthenia gravis, antibodies block, alter, or destroy the receptors for acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction,which prevents the muscle contraction from occurring. These antibodies are produced by the body's own immune system.In some cases, myasthenia gravis it is linked to tumors or other abnormalities of the thymus (a gland the plays an important role in the immune system). Researchers also believe that variations in particular unidentified genes may increase the risk to develop myasthenia gravis. Ultimately, many factors likely contribute to the risk of developing this complex disorder.
The resources below provide information about treatment options for this condition. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional.
Nonprofit support and advocacy groups bring together patients, families, medical professionals, and researchers. These groups often raise awareness, provide support, and develop patient-centered information. Many are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct people to research, resources, and services. Many groups also have experts who serve as medical advisors. Visit their website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD. Suggest an organization to add.
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