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Myasthenia Gravis : Definition
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine
Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disorder of neuromuscular junction function that causes muscles to become weak and to tire easily. The specific pattern of muscle involvement is often important to diagnosis.

The Brain and Nervous System
The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord. Nerves are attached to the spinal cord and branch out to the entire body forming the peripheral nervous system. Nerve impulses can travel along each nerve in one direction only. One type of nerve (motor) carries signals from the brain to the legs, for example, and another (sensory) sends signals back from the legs to the brain.
(Reader's Digest, Guide to Medical Cures and Treatments copyright 1999)
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that results in chronic defective transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. The disease produces weakness and abnormally rapid fatigue of voluntary muscles. Symptoms improve after rest or medication. The disease usually presents between the ages of 10 and 50 years and women are affected more often than men in 200,000. It is an uncommon disease occurring in approximately one in 200,000 people.

Depending on the symptoms it produces, myasthenia gravis is placed in different traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndrome categories:

When weakness of the limbs predominates, it is classified as flaccidity syndrome. In TCM, this refers to a syndrome marked by weakness, limited movement and muscular atrophy (wasting) of the limbs, especially the lower limbs and results from lack of nourishment reaching the muscle tissue. This can be caused by consumption of body fluid by lung-heat, an overwhelming effect of dampness-heat evil, or weakness of the liver and kidneys leading to insufficiency of essence and blood.
If the main symptom is drooping of one or both eyelids, the syndrome is classified as ptosis.
In individuals presenting with weakness of the eye muscles and suffering from double vision, the syndrome is classified as vision changes.
Others classifications include drooping head or respiratory collapse and relate to corresponding manifestations of the disease.