KENTUCKY (7/4/13) – Last month was officially declared as the Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month.
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is Latin for grave muscle weakness. Many people who suffer from Myasthenia Gravis are often misdiagnosed. Quite often, it takes progression and severe pain before doctors are able to consider testing for it.
MG is a lot like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but a little different. MG is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body is attacking itself in some way. This disease causes the body to make antibodies that work against their body’s nerves and muscles. MG is not contagious, but is found in men, women and children. However, it is most commonly found in women and causes severe muscle weakness.
Some individuals will have MG that only impacts their eye muscles, which is called Ocular MG. Most of those with Ocular MG will go on to develop generalized (body-wide) MG. This can virtually impact any muscle in the body. Common problems with MG include; vision, speech, swallowing, chewing, movement of arms and legs and breathing. Symptoms of MG often fluctuate, causing MG crisis and flares that are often mistaken for being on drugs, due to difficulty with speech, visual issues and walking. Some reasons symptoms may fluctuate include; improper medications taken, extreme temperature changes, stress, physical activity and illnesses.
There are treatments for MG, but the results to the medications have various effectiveness. All treatments that are currently available have serious to life-threatening side effects. Sometimes MG can go through periods of remission that can last for years. But, with no explanation why, nor do doctors know what triggers it, the disease can bring people out of remission and back into a full-blown disease.
It is important for those who have MG to listen to their bodies. People should try not to over-exert themselves, eliminate as much stress as possible and get plenty of rest.
For more information, visit the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc website.
Information provided by Debbie Norman
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