Myasthenia Gravis ( MG) first appeared in medical reports in 1672, but was not named till the 1880’s. Myasthenia Gravis literally means “grave muscle weakness”, and is an autoimmune disorder affecting the neuromuscular junction between the nerve and muscle.
Symptoms include :
- Drooping of one or both eyelids ( ocular MG)
- Double or blurred vision
- Weakness in arms, hands, fingers, neck, face or legs
- Difficulty chewing, smiling, swallowing or talking
- Excessive fatigue in exercised muscle groups
- Shortness of breath
MG most commonly impacts young adult women ( under 40) and older men ( over 60), but can also occur in children. Approximately 15-20% of people with MG will experience a myasthenia crisis, where individuals respiratory muscles will weaken and a ventilator is required. This crisis may be triggered by medication, stress, or infection. It is vital that the individual is followed closely by a Dr.
Due to MG being a lower motor neuron disease, exercise or any activity will not help, in fact it is contra-indicated. Though at this moment there is no cure, there are ways to control MG.
- Thymectomy- is an operation to remove the thymus glands and can assist in reducing symptoms
- Antiocholinesterase Medications – these medications slow the breakdown of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction
- Immunosuppressive meds- these meds MUST be carefully monitored by a physician
When someone with MG is having a difficult time, especially with respiration, they may require assistance in their home. Perfect Solutions for Seniors, a Senior in home care company, is able to provide respite care. Call them at 941-378-5553.