Symptoms of myasthenia gravis can usually be improved with medications
that increase the amount of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter)
at the neuromuscular junction. Treatments involving the immune system include
injections of intravenous immunoglobulin, immunosuppressive medications, and plasmapheresis (removal of antibodies from the blood).
If an individual's myasthenia is found to be related to abnormalities in the thymus gland located at the base of the neck underneath
the breastbone (sternum), a thymectomy (surgical removal of the thymus gland) may help to improve the symptoms.
When respiratory (breathing) muscles fail, this is
called a myasthenic crisis. This type of respiratory
failure is an emergency. It may require intensive care and use of a ventilator
to assist breathing. Some factors leading to a myasthenic crisis include infection,
fever, medication effects, or even stress.