Causes of Myasthenia Gravis

The exact causes of Myasthenia Gravis are still not known. What is known is that myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the immune system responsible for fighting infections mistakenly starts attacking healthy tissue in the body. In myasthenia gravis, the antibodies prevent the muscles from receiving messages normally from nerve cells or neurotransmitters. These antibodies destroy the normal receptors in the neuromuscular junction and prevent the muscle from contracting.

There is a type of myasthenia gravis known as neonatal myasthenia that affects newborn babies and infants. This condition is generally temporary and is caused when the fetus acquires some immune proteins or antibodies from the mother, also affected by myasthenia gravis. Symptoms occur for approximately two to three months after birth and disappear on their own. There are also reports of rare cases where children have developed congenital myasthenia. However, in such cases, the condition is not due to an autoimmune disorder but rather it is caused by a defective gene that produces antibodies and develops into myasthenia gravis.

There are certain risk factors that increase a person’s chance of developing myasthenia gravis. These include:

  • Age: Myasthenia Gravis is more common among older men though it can affect people of any age.
  • Gender: Studies show that younger women are more affected than younger men by the condition though in old age, it affects more men than women.
  • Family History: In some cases, having other family members with myasthenia gravis may increase your chances of developing the disease.