Have An Eyelid That Is Suddenly Droopy? See Your Family Doctor ASAP

Health & Medical Blog

Sometimes eyelids become droopy, which can make someone concerned about their appearance. More importantly, a droopy eyelid can be a sign of a serious medical condition called myasthenia gravis. If you have an eyelid that has started to become droopy, it's crucial for you to have your health assessed by your family doctor to see if you have myasthenia gravis and to rule out medical conditions such as brain tumor and stroke. Here's what you need to know. 

What is myasthenia gravis? 

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that causes musculoskeletal weakness. The skeletal muscles are responsible for moving the arms and legs and breathing. The weakness occurs due to a disruption in the normal communication between the nerve cells and the muscles those nerve cells control. The disruption is believed to be due to antibodies that block the receptors for acetylcholine or Muscle-Specific Kinase protein, which are the neurotransmitters that perform the communication from the nerves to the muscles. Essentially, this prevents the nerves from telling the muscles to contract. 

What are the signs of myasthenia gravis? 

This inability to contract can affect any skeletal muscle, but the muscles that are most frequently affected are the muscles that control eyelids, eyes, and facial expressions. It can also affect the ability to swallow and/or cause slurred speech. The weakness of the eye muscles can cause blurred or double vision as well. Other common signs are shortness of breath and weakness in the arms, legs, and neck. 

What medical conditions does myasthenia gravis mimic? 

As you read through the symptoms of myasthenia gravis, you may recognize most of the symptoms mimic symptoms of ischemic stroke, which is when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. When a blood vessel is blocked in the brain, it can cause brain cells to die. Because of this, ischemic stroke is a medical emergency and will need to be treated as quickly as possible. 

Other medical conditions that can cause droopy eyelids and mimic other symptoms of myasthenia gravis are brain tumors, disorders that affect the brain stem such as Chiari malformation, systemic diseases such as sepsis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical testing to determine what is causing the droopy eyelids and other symptoms and to rule out these types of medical conditions. 

What are the testing procedures for myasthenia gravis? 

One key criteria that doctors look for to determine whether or not someone has myasthenia gravis is through blood tests that show abnormally high levels of antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor. If these antibodies are not found, doctors will look for antibodies to Muscle-Specific Kinase protein. When neither antibody is found, the person will then need to be assessed for seronegative myasthenia. However, the most reliable test for myasthenia gravis is single fiber electromyography. According to the National Institutes of Health, this test is the most sensitive and can validate 99 percent of myasthenia gravis diagnoses. 

What is the prognosis and treatment for myasthenia gravis? 

Without treatment, myasthenia gravis can worsen to the point of myasthenic crisis, which occurs when the muscles that control breathing no longer function properly. Should this happen, a ventilator would be necessary for the person to breathe. Fortunately, there are treatments that can control myasthenia gravis, which includes rebalancing the immune system by removing the thymus gland, which is often abnormal in myasthenia gravis patients. Medication and immunoglobulin therapies can also help treat this condition. 

There is a chance that the condition may go into remission, which can be temporary or permanent. Remission is the goal of treatment. Should remission occur, medication can be discontinued. However, routine examinations by a physician will be necessary. Visit a site like https://rhsctn.com/ to schedule an appointment with a doctor.


28 July 2017

Outstanding In-Home Care

When my mother fell at home and broke her hip, we all thought that we were going to have no choice to put her in a nursing home when she got out of the hospital. My mother had always asked us kids to avoid putting her in any kind of home, but we didn’t know what else we could do. None of us were capable of giving her the kind of rehabilitation and care that she needed. Then her doctor suggested that we find out if her insurance covered in-home care. I didn’t even know that that was an option. I was pleased to discover that in-home care was covered by her plan. Now she gets great care from nurses and nurse assistants that come right to her in her home, where she wants to be. It’s a great option, and I’m so glad we have it.