What is Myasthenia Gravis (MG)?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disease and an autoimmune disorder. MG causes the immune system to attack the area where nerves and muscles come together. MG causes progressive weakness in skeletal muscles but usually affects the eyes, breathing, swallowing, arms and legs. It is more common in adults but can affect children.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment


Myasthenia Gravis causes muscle weakness that worsens with activity and improves with rest.

Myasthenia Gravis muscle weakness can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Breathing difficulty because of weakness of the chest wall muscles
  • Difficulty climbing stairs and lifting objects
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty talking
  • Drooping head and eyelids
  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Voice changes, including slurred speech and hoarseness
  • Weakness of the facial muscles


The experts at Penn State Health start with a thorough physical exam and medical history by a neurologist (nervous system doctor). Other testing may include:

  • Autonomic testing – measures how nerves respond to stimulation
  • Bloodwork
  • Nerve biopsy – remove a small tissue sample to detect disease
  • Electromyography (EMG) – assesses muscle and motor nerve cell health
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) – electoral test to assess nerve impulses and detect nerve injury
  • MRI – imaging test to look at organs
  • Pulmonary function test – to measure lung capacity


There is no cure for Myasthenia Gravis. Treatment will allow you to manage symptoms and may allow you to have periods with little to no symptoms. Treatments may include:

  • Eye patching
  • Lifestyle modifications (resting throughout the day, avoiding stress)
  • Medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthopedic devices (braces, splints)
  • Physical therapy

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

The experts at Penn State Health are committed to providing comprehensive, cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment options for patients with Myasthenia Gravis. Our health care team works with families and caregivers to create unique plans to give you the best possible quality of life.

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