Myasthenia Awareness Month
June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month. During the month of June, the MG community raises awareness about MG, and promotes research and fundraising to support individuals with MG.
What is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a long-term neuromuscular disease that weakens the skeletal muscles responsible for movement by impairing the connection between the nerves and muscles. The most commonly affected muscles are those of the eyes, face, and swallowing.
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
- Double Vision
- Drooping eyelid
- Weak muscles
- Lack of muscle control
- Trouble talking
- Trouble walking
- Trouble holding up your head
- Hoarse Voice
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or chewing
Causes of Myasthenia Gravis
In healthy bodies nerve impulses originate in the brain and travel down nerve pathways to the junction where the nerve meets the muscles. This is called the neuromuscular junction This is a small space between the nerve ending and muscle fibers. A chemical called acetylcholine transfers the signal from one side of the space to the other. Acetylcholine will bind with receptor sites on the muscle fibers and once enough receptors have been activated by acetylcholine, this results in the movement of voluntary muscles.
Research has found that people with MG are missing as many as 80% of these acetylcholine receptor sites on the muscle fibers. Researchers believe this is because the immune system produces antibodies that attack and destroy these receptor sites faster than the body can produce them. So now there is not enough acetylcholine receptors sites which results in muscle weakness.
The cause of MG is not known.
How it MG Diagnosed?
- Physical examination and a neurological exam to test reflexes and muscle strength..
- Nerve stimulation test (EMG)
- Blood test to look for MG antibodies
- Ice pack test – This involved putting an ice pack on your eye to see if it temporarily relives your droopy eye.
- Imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI
- Tensilon test.
Treatments for MG
MG has no cure, but managing the condition can significantly improve your quality of life.
- Medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants help to decrease the immune system response that causes the destruction of acetylcholine receptors.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors to increase the communication between nerves and muscles.
- Braces to help hold up head.
- Thymus gland removal can help decrease muscle weakness.
- Plasmapheresis, to remove the antibodies responsible for damaging receptor sites.
- Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG)
- Lifestyle changes such as plenty of rest after activity to give your muscles time to recover.
- Surgery for people with myasthenia gravis that have a tumor in their thymus gland.
As I write this post about MG, I have a friend in the hospital right now because of it. Often what happens is someone with MG has an “MG crisis” and needs to be hospitalized. Sometimes it’s from severe muscle weakness, sometimes it is from having trouble breathing, and other times it’s because of aspiration pneumonia. There can be many complications to MG. So anyone reading this, if you can offer up some prayers, best wishes or positive thoughts for Tracy I would appreciate it. ♥
For More Information & Support
- MG United
- gMG Never Rests
- MG Chat Rooms
- MG News Forums
- My Aware Fighting MG Together
Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Items
Are you wanting to spread some MG awareness for either yourself, a friend or family member? Visit our MG Awareness Gift Shop Collection.