Myasthenia Gravis (MG) comes from the Greek and Latin words that mean: “grave muscular weakness.” (Source: Myasthenia.org) The most prevalent form of this disease is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups. (Source: Myasthenia.org) Put simply, MG affects the nerves and muscles. Furthermore, June is the month where the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) stands up and raises awareness about the condition. Since this affects millions of Americans each year, it is important that as many people know about the illness and treatments as possible, so that the chain of information can continue to grow. (Source: ConsumerHealthDigest.com)
There are a few causes of MG, and some of those are:
- Antibodies produced by the immune system that block or destroy muscle receptor cells
- Abnormally large thymus gland (especially in children)
Diving in further, MG affects both men and women, and occurs across all racial and ethnic groups. (Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) More specifically, when women are affected by the illness, they ten to be under 40, and for men, they will be over 60. Regardless of that fact, MG can occur at any age including childhood. (Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
It is also important to understand the symptoms of the disease. This way if you or anyone you know experience these symptoms, you will be alerted to the potential issues. According to Consumer Health Digest, symptoms of MG are as follows:
- General weakness in legs and arms
- Blurred or double vision
- Garbled speech
- Limited facial expressions
- Breathing difficulties
- Drooping eyelid on either one eyelid or both
- Difficulties in chewing and swallowing hard food
- Chronic muscle fatigue
There are many treatments available that a doctor can perform to help detect MG. If you or someone you know begin to experience the above symptoms, it is imperative to get checked right away. Because weakness is a shared side-effect of other common illnesses, sometimes the detection of Myasthenia Gravis can be missed, or detected very late in its progress. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, early detections methods are:
- A physical and neurological examination
- An edrophonium test
- A blood test
- Diagnostic imaging
- Pulmonary function testing
You can view treatments and other helpful information on MG here.
Campaigns for Awareness
The MGFA bands together with advocates and other organizations to raise awareness and funds for the Myasthenia Gravis cause. Advocates are also encouraged to hold their own fundraisers and events as well! Myasthenia.org encourages those interested in raising money for research and development to utilize social events such as birthdays and anniversaries to inspire others to donate. You can start a “Do It Yourself” fundraiser here.
If you have a few extra dollars you can donate to the cause and help the MFGA get further in raising awareness and fascinating research and treatment for Myasthenia Gravis, then June is the perfect time to do so. It is important to utilize June as an opportunity to share resources on MG and help others realize the symptoms and treatments for this disease! It can even be as simple as sharing this article!