What is Myasthenia Gravis and what are the symptoms?
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic auto-immune disease that is characterized by fluctuating, muscle weakness, and excessive muscle fatigue. The body’s immune system, in the form of antibodies, attacks and damages the nerve signal reception areas on the muscles – causing a breakdown in communication between nerve and muscle; this results in a loss of effectiveness of the muscle. The disease can vary in severity and distribution of weakness between individuals, and symptoms fluctuate with relapses and remissions.
My twin sister was diagnosed with this over 23 years ago after a long and tedious journey to find out what was the matter with her.
One treatment for MG if drugs have not helped is the removal of the thymus gland. The thymus gland is located in the upper centre of your chest, and removal of this gland (thymectomy) may reduce or eliminate symptoms of MG, which could mean over time, you can reduce or even stop taking medication. My sister had this major surgery done after drugs failed to help her.
Between us, we have both been quite unlucky in our health but we are very close and support each other as much as we can.
Recently there have been quite a lot of media articles about teen Mom Janelle Evans who was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and who may also have Myasthenia Gravis after being hospitalised by chest pain.
She wrote “New blood test results are in for me… I have 2 anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies: blocking and binding in my system. Usually found in myasthenia gravis.”
Myasthenia Gravis is similar to Fibromyalgia in a lot of ways. It causes weakness and fatigue, affects your muscles and is a chronic condition but Myasthenia Gravis can be a life-threatening disease whereas Fibromyalgia is not.
EHealthMe explained that Myasthenia gravis is found among people with Fibromyalgia, especially for people who are female, 60+ old.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by poor sleep and subsequent chronic pain in specific tender points along the spine. Myasthenia gravis is a neurological condition that is caused by an immune response that weakens your muscles.
Both conditions are difficult to diagnose but if diagnosed early they can be managed. If there is a connection it seems extremely low with a chart from EHealthMe showing –