What is MG

Myasthenia Gravis results in weakened
muscles that can improve with rest.
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by general fatigue and fluctuating levels of muscle weakness that improve with rest. It is caused by the body producing antibodies that mistakenly interfere with and prevent the normal communication between nerves and muscles. The body's immune system essentially attacks itself. The good news is that MG is one of the most treatable and best understood conditions in neurology. In most cases, a simple blood test can identify the offending antibody.

Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms:

The initial sign is often a sudden, profound and unnatural weakness, especially toward the end of the day. Other indications are one or both eyelids drooping (ptosis) or difficulty with speaking (dysarthria), especially after eating or chewing. Additional symptoms may include swallowing problems (dysphagia) and blurred or double vision (diplopia). Sometimes MG will eventually progress to the point where it can affect any of the voluntary (skeletal) muscles - including the neck, hip and extremities (arms, legs, feet and hands). Breathing can sometimes be affected, occasionally resulting in a medical emergency known as Myasthenia Gravis Crisis.

The possibility of MG is often overlooked by physicians because it is rare and the symptoms fluctuate and vary in severity and can occur individually or in many combinations. The hallmark of MG is fatigue that worsens with activity and improves after resting. Most MG patients are at their best in the morning with symptoms progressing throughout the day.

The name 'Myasthenia Gravis' comes from Greek and Latin words meaning "grave muscle weakness." The description implies the prognoses for patients with MG before the discovery of current treatments. Today, with appropriate therapy, most people with MG can expect to live relatively normal lives. Spontaneous and sustained clinical remissions, although rare, can occur at any time throughout the course of the disease.

Because myasthenia gravis is difficult to diagnose, it is often misdiagnosed. For example, if an older person presents with a droopy eyelid (ptosis) a doctor might first consider Bell's Palsy. If speech is slurred and one side of the face droops they might add the possibility of an ischemic stroke. Many myasthenia gravis patients have gone through a battery of tests before they are finally diagnosed properly; often that only happens after seeing a neurologist who specializes in muscle disorders. Oddly, many read articles and books and diagnose themselves and confirm it by requesting a simple blood test. 

Watch informative videos from doctors and people who have MG: Click Here   

If you are newly diagnosed or suspect that you might have myasthenia gravis (MG) , there are a variety of books and resources available to help you. Below are a few links of interest:

MG Book List 
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America


Myasthenia Gravis Medical I.D. Bracelets

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