Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by fluctuating muscle weakness, which worsens with activity and improves with rest. The disease is caused by antibodies of one’s own immune system attacking the connections between nerves and muscles, causing weakness and fatigue in muscles that are voluntarily controlled. Symptoms typically emerge in the eyes (e.g., drooping eyes, double vision, blurred vision) and progress into the face, throat, or limbs. In severe cases, the muscles involved in breathing may become weak and lead to life-threatening respiratory complications.
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the peripheral nervous system. Although the clinical course of CIDP varies, it usually develops over a period of 8 weeks or longer and is progressive if left untreated. CIDP appears to be caused, at least in some people, by antibodies that attack and damage the fatty protective covering (myelin sheath) of the nerve fibers. The hallmark signs of CIDP are weakness, tingling sensations, or loss of sensation in the arms and legs. These symptoms are usually symmetrical and gradually worsen over time.
Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune disorder affecting the tissues around the eyes. It is a progressive and clinically variable disease that can become debilitating, disfiguring, or sight-threatening. TED is caused by antibodies that target the muscle and fat tissue behind the eyes and result in signs and symptoms of the disease. Common symptoms include eye bulging, tearing, swelling around the eyes, redness, dry eyes, eye irritation, and pain behind the eyes; double vision or vision loss can occur in severe cases.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder associated with overproduction of thyroid hormones, which manifests as hyperthyroidism. The disease is caused by antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland. Patients typically present with classic signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which include heat intolerance, weight loss, anxiety, and frequent bowel movements. The disease can also manifest as symptoms affecting the eyes or the skin. If left untreated, Graves’ disease may lead to changes in heart rate, heart failure, or life-threatening thyroid storms.