Myasthenia gravis or MG is a muscular disorder that causes muscle weakness in the skeletal muscles. The skeletal muscles allow the body to move and it’s the muscles that can be controlled consciously. When there is impairment in the communication between nerve cells to the muscles, it causes muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis is considered a neuromuscular disorder.
This condition is considered a rare autoimmune disorder. What’s happening is the immune system produces an antibody that attacks the neurotransmitter substance acetylcholine of the skeletal muscles. This will result in the inability of the muscles to contract. Without proper transmission of these nerve impulses, the muscles won’t be able to function and muscle weakness results.
There is no explanation yet why the immune system attacks the neurotransmitter substance, however, some experts believe that a certain viral or bacterial proteins can stimulate the body to attack acetylcholine.
When there is an increased activity the muscles in people with MG gets worse but improves with rest. Additional symptoms can include:
- There is trouble talking
- There is difficulty in climbing up stairs or lifting objects
- The muscles on the face may be affected causing facial paralysis
- Muscles responsible for breathing can also be affected, which results in difficulty in breathing
- The muscles responsible for swallowing and chewing is affected
- There is extreme tiredness or fatigue
- The eyelids may droop
- Vision is also impaired such as double vision
Not all individual may suffer any of the symptoms above, and the level of muscle weakness may change every day. If left untreated, the symptoms can get severe and can greatly affect the individual’s way of life.
The treatment of Myasthenia gravis is focused more on how to alleviate symptoms and control the activity of the immune system.
– Medication such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants are used to aid in minimizing the abnormal response of the immune system that occurs in MG. Furthermore, a certain cholinesterase inhibitor can be used to increase communication between the brain and muscles.
– Removal of the thymus gland is also done to prevent cancer from developing and to minimize the production of antibodies that affect the neurotransmitters. Usually, people with MG will show less muscle weakness when this procedure is performed. The thymus gland is part of the immune system.
– Lifestyle changes include proper rest, the use of an eye patch for double vision, and avoid stress.
Again, these treatments cannot cure myasthenia gravis, but can only alleviate the discomfort experienced in the disorder.
If you think you are suffering from Myasthenia Gravis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Myasthenia Gravis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).