Integrated Neurology Services
Neurology & Sleep Specialists Located in Northern Virginia, Alexandria, VA, Old Alexandria, VA, Lorton, VA, & Falls Church, VA
Neuromuscular diseases include a number of conditions that affect communication between the muscles and nervous system. At Integrated Neurology Services, the most common neuromuscular disease treated by the board-certified neurologists is myasthenia gravis. To schedule an evaluation, contact one of the offices in Northern Virginia, located in Alexandria, Falls Church, or Lorton, by phone or using the online tool. Integrated Neurology Services is also proud to serve the Vienna, VA, community.
Neuromuscular Disease Q & A
What is neuromuscular disease?
Neuromuscular disease refers to various disorders that affect the nerves that control your muscles, which may include the nerves responsible for directing voluntary movement or the nerves that provide sensory information.
Types of neuromuscular disease include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
The team at Integrated Neurology Services most commonly treats myasthenia gravis.
What is myasthenia gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease caused by a chronic autoimmune problem. The autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system produces antibodies that block neurotransmitters called acetylcholine from completing its signal. Myasthenia gravis affects 14 to 20 out of every 100,000 people in the United States and is more common in women.
You may be at risk of developing myasthenia gravis if it runs in your family. Though you may not be able to prevent the neuromuscular disease, avoiding triggers such as fevers, emotional stress, overexertion, and illness may prevent aggravation of the disease.
What are neuromuscular disease symptoms?
Neuromuscular disease symptoms vary depending on the disorder. Common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle loss
- Droopy eyelids
- Double vision
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
Voluntary skeletal muscle weakness is the primary symptom of myasthenia gravis and mainly affects the muscles that control eyelid movement, facial expressions, and chewing and swallowing. Other symptoms you may experience with myasthenia gravis include:
- Droopy eyelids
- Facial paralysis
- Difficulty walking upstairs
- Difficulty talking
- Double vision
- Hoarse voice
When left untreated, myasthenia gravis symptoms progress over time, reaching maximum severity within three years, then either stabilizing or improving.
The experienced team at Integrated Neurology Services conducts comprehensive evaluations when you come to the office with symptoms indicative of myasthenia gravis. To diagnose the neuromuscular disease, the team performs diagnostic tests, including blood work and electromyography/nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV) studies.
How is neuromuscular disease treated?
Currently, there is no cure for neuromuscular disease and treatment focuses on managing symptoms. At Integrated Neurology Services, the team offers extensive treatment options for myasthenia gravis, including:
- Pyridostigmine for symptoms
- Steroids to dampen the immune system
- Other immunosuppressants (mycophenolate, mofetil, or azathioprine)
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions
- Solaris® infusions
In some cases, the team may recommend surgery to remove the thymus.
To schedule a consultation with the neuromuscular disease specialists at Integrated Neurology Services, call the office or book online today.
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