First Choice Neurology

June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

June is Myasthenia Gravis (MG) Awareness Month, a critical time to shed light on this rare, chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder. Awareness months serve as opportunities to educate the public, support those affected, and encourage advancements in treatment and research. This blog will focus on understanding MG—its causes, symptoms, treatments, and the crucial work being done by neurologists at First Choice Neurology to help those living with this challenging condition.

 

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under voluntary control. The name, derived from Latin and Greek, translates to “grave muscle weakness.” The condition occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that block or destroy many of the muscles’ receptor sites for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in muscle contraction. This blockage prevents muscle contraction, leading to muscle weakness.

 

Myasthenia Gravis Fact Sheet image

 

Causes of Myasthenia Gravis

The exact cause of Myasthenia Gravis is still not completely understood. However, it is widely recognized as an autoimmune disorder. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. In MG, this involves the production of antibodies that interfere with communication between nerves and muscles.

Several factors may contribute to the development of MG:

Genetic Predisposition: Although MG is not directly inherited, genetic factors can make individuals more susceptible.
Thymus Gland Abnormalities: The thymus gland, part of the immune system, is often abnormal in people with MG, sometimes developing tumors called thymomas.
Other Autoimmune Diseases: Individuals with other autoimmune disorders are at a higher risk of developing MG.

 

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis

Symptoms of MG can vary significantly among individuals, both in terms of which muscles are affected and the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:

Eye Muscle Weakness: This can lead to drooping of one or both eyelids (ptosis) and double vision (diplopia).
Facial Muscle Weakness: Difficulties in facial expressions, chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
Neck and Limb Muscle Weakness: Problems with holding up the head, lifting objects, walking, or even breathing in severe cases.

The hallmark of MG is muscle weakness that worsens with activity and improves after rest. This fluctuating weakness can make MG particularly challenging to diagnose and manage.

 

Treatments for Myasthenia Gravis

While there is no cure for Myasthenia Gravis, several treatments can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life:

Medications: Anticholinesterase medications, such as pyridostigmine, can enhance communication between nerves and muscles. Immunosuppressive drugs, like corticosteroids and azathioprine, reduce the abnormal immune response.
Thymectomy: Surgical removal of the thymus gland can reduce symptoms in some patients, especially those with thymomas.
Plasmapheresis and Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG): These treatments involve filtering the blood to remove harmful antibodies or providing the body with normal antibodies to alter the immune response.
Lifestyle Modifications: Energy conservation techniques and physical therapy can help manage fatigue and muscle weakness.

 

First Choice Neurology Myasthenia Gravis Care

First Choice Neurology offers comprehensive care in treating Myasthenia Gravis through a multidisciplinary approach. Our neurologists provide personalized care, utilizing the latest advancements in medical science. Myasthenia Gravis is a complex condition, and each patient experiences it differently. We develop individualized treatment strategies that address the unique needs of each patient.

First Choice Neurology’s commitment to research ensures that patients have access to cutting-edge treatments and clinical trials. Our Research Center 32 in Boca Raton is currently involved with 2, Phase 3, Myasthenia Gravis Clinical Studies.

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month is an opportunity to honor the strength and resilience of those living with this condition, to educate the public, and to advocate for continued research and better treatments. Neurologists at First Choice Neurology are dedicated to improving the lives of MG patients through comprehensive, compassionate care and innovative treatment approaches. By increasing awareness and understanding of MG, we can support those affected and move closer to a future where this challenging condition can be effectively managed and, ultimately, cured. To learn more about MG, visit the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation Of America website, or watch a presentation by Dr. Jennifer Buczyner on YouTube.

 

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