Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Job Stress Connection to Myasthenia Gravis?

While the association of stress and myasthenia gravis isn't a news flash, I'm thinking that it might follow that there's a job stress connection to contracting the disease.

Last Friday was my last day at work. The staff and the new owners threw a nice going away party for me. I'm actually retiring after 25 years in the advertising and direct mail business. In the back of my mind, I feel that the stress of running a small business was at least partly responsible for my developing myasthenia gravis. .

Like many small business owners, my business
pretty much ran my life. In my particular line of work, I could never escape the pressure of deadlines and the often unreasonable demands of my clients. At some point, I began to literally flinch every time my cell phone would ring. As I got older, that flinch reaction became more intense. The day-to-day job stresses that I had handled so easily when I was in my forties and early fifties were becoming almost intolerable as I approached my 60's. Then, two years ago, when I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, I made the decision to throw in the towel.

Is Work Killing You?: A Doctor's Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress

While it's true that myasthenia gravis can affect anybody of any age, it's also true that times of stress can aggravate the condition, worsening the symptoms. So, it just stands to reason, that years of intensely stressful conditions could make it more likely that the disease would appear in some that wouldn't have otherwise developed it. And if that dot can be connected, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe that having certain types of jobs could increase the the chances of developing myasthenia gravis.

That being said, an occupational, or job stress connection might be [statistically] impossible to prove. Since the occurrence of MG per 100,000 persons is so low to begin with, subsets beyond age and gender would take forever to compile. Still, many of us who got the disease later in life are searching for the cause of our affliction. For me, after thinking it through, I'm blaming it on my job. And I'm sticking to that theory, if for no other reason that it justifies my early retirement. : )


Related article: MG and Stress


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