Diseases Home > Identifying and Confirming Myasthenia Gravis

What Are the Symptoms?

The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness that increases during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Although symptoms may affect any voluntary muscle, they usually affect the muscles that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, and swallowing. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis may appear suddenly and may not be immediately recognizable as symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
(Click Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms for more information about the symptoms of this disease.)

Diagnosing Myasthenia Gravis

Weakness is a common symptom of many disorders, which is why myasthenia gravis is often misdiagnosed in people who experience mild weakness or in people whose weakness is restricted to only a few muscles. Therefore, a delay in diagnosis of one or two years is not unusual in cases of myasthenia gravis.
In order to make a diagnosis, doctors will need to:
  • Review the patient's medical history
  • Review the patient's physical and neurological examinations
  • Look for symptoms such as impairment of eye movements or muscle weakness.
Tests that are used to confirm the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis include the following:
  • Blood test
  • Edrophonium test
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Single fiber electromyography (EMG)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Pulmonary function tests (PFT).
(Click Myasthenia Diagnosis for more information about the diagnosis of this disease.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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