What Is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia Gravis, also referred to as MG, is a neuromuscular disorder in which the voluntary muscular groups of the body experience chronic weakness. Myasthenia Gravis is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning that it causes the immune system to become overactive. This results in the body causing damage to its own tissues.
In the case of Myasthenia Gravis, the muscular tissue of the body is regularly damaged by the presence of abnormally produced antibodies. These antibodies target the receptor sites in the muscle tissue that serve to transmit brain signals to nerve endings for proper muscular function. Myasthenia Gravis is not hereditarily contracted, and it is non-contagious. The disease can affect both men and women, as well as people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
Signs and Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
As anybody can be affected by Myasthenia Gravis, there are signs and symptoms of the disease everybody should be aware of. If any of the following symptoms are being experienced, Myasthenia Gravis may be negatively affecting the body’s important system functions.
- Problems properly chewing and swallowing food
Diagnosis and Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis
If the antibodies behind Myasthenia Gravis, known as Acetylcholine-Receptor or Muscle-Specific Tyrosine Kinase-Seropositive (MuSK), are detected in the blood, certain medications can be used to improve the overall muscular function throughout the body. Certain medications are administered by health care professionals for both the diagnosis and treatment of MG.
- Edrophonium may be given via injection to diagnostically test muscle function and reaction.
- Other tests for the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis include physical strength tests and nerve stimulation tests using electromyography.
- Neostigmine is a medication that is taken orally to help nerve impulses transmit properly from the brain to muscle tissue, to improve muscular strength and condition.
- Anti-acetyl cholinesterase agents can help regulate the presence of acetylcholine at nerve ending receptor sites for proper brain to muscle communication.
Regular treatment is often required for those with MG. Other medications may be prescribed depending upon preexisting health conditions and special medical requirements.
Best Practices for Living with Myasthenia Gravis
Certain lifestyle practices and health precautions can be adopted to ease and reduce the development of Myasthenia Gravis. The following should be avoided:
Getting proper amounts of rest and nutrition through a well-balanced diet can also improve immune system function in patients with Myasthenia Gravis and prevent the condition from worsening.
The Cure Is in the Research: Finding the Cure for Myasthenia Gravis
The future looks bright for many patients receiving proper treatment for Myasthenia Gravis. Though the cure for MG is still unknown, the rates of recovery and remission continue to grow due to medical innovations and advanced research of the autoimmune disease. As with many widespread disorders, medical professionals are still working hard researching to find better drugs to treat patients with MG so they can achieve a full, strong, and comfortable life.
June: A Month to Raise Awareness about Myasthenia Gravis
June is known around the world as Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month. During this time, medical professionals and communities affected by the disease raise awareness about MG in an effort to fight for better treatments and fight together to find a cure. People can help raise awareness by placing campaign-supporting content on social media, such as the “MG Strong 2017” Twibbon. By using the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America’s Public Relations Toolkit, communities across the United States can raise MG awareness through news publications and local businesses. Throughout the year, charitable donations can be made directly to the MGFA to help in the advancement of research and awareness efforts for Myasthenia Gravis.