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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 –

Source: EHealthMe, HealthTap

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BOWEL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – 1st – 30th April –  Every 15 minutes somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK, that’s nearly 43,000 people each year.

Bowel Cancer UK supports everyone affected by bowel cancer, every step of the way. They want to make your voices heard to drive positive change by championing early diagnosis and campaigning for the best treatment and care. And with your help, they can fund the future of bowel cancer research to help stop people from dying of bowel cancer.

This April, for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, they are calling on everyone to join them. Together we can raise more awareness and support even more people affected by the disease. Together we are stronger. Together we can save more lives.

Step Up to 30 with them in April as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – it is really simple, just get active every day and ask people to sponsor you.

  • Date: Throughout April
  • Price: No registration fee
  • Minimum sponsorship target: £100

You can take part as an individual, with your friends or family, or as a company with your colleagues. Sign up here.

STRESS AWARENESS MONTH – 1st – 30th April – Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.  The last two years have been the most challenging they have faced and in 2020 their services were overwhelmed by people that are struggling and seeking support.   This year their theme is Community.  They have chosen this theme because lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation, which in turn lowers people’s wellbeing, impacts mental health and can lead to mental illness. Social isolation is an important risk factor for both deteriorating mental health and suicide. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the community support experienced by many people during this challenging time continues.  Although restrictions have mainly been lifted, people need support now more than ever as they adjust to a new way of living.

The pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community.  Disrupted social lives, the cancellation of large gatherings, travel restrictions and working from home have kept us in one place for long periods of time. However, one of the positives to emerge from this unparalleled situation has been the community spirit and support shown by so many to so many.

Socialising with others has multiple benefits for our mental health.  Whether it’s a sport, hobby classes or volunteering, activities like these all give meaning and purpose to our lives and make us more confident.  Having the opportunity to laugh and chat with others in social situations serves to temporarily distract us from our worries by turning our focus outwards instead of inwards.  And being able to talk through problems and share our worries with others decreases our stress levels.  As the saying goes, a worry shared is a worry halved, and less worry equals less stress. 

The 30 Day Challenge for April –

If you haven’t yet joined their 30 Day Challenge for April. They are encouraging you to pick one action each for your Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing to carry out every day.

It takes 30 days to turn actions into habits, which is why this is a month-long programme.  The 30-day challenge will maximise your chances of turning useful knowledge and techniques into positive behavioural change.

Click here to gain the access to their free resources specifically created for the month of April. You can download the 30 Day Challenge, a Daily De-Stressing Planner, a Stress Guide, 7 Steps Achievement Plan, useful infographics on stress and much more!

WALK TO WORKDAY – 1st April – There are a huge number of benefits to walking, so why not energise your commute? 

It is a great way to keep the doctor away. Just a 20-minute walk per day helps prevent and manage chronic illnesses, including reducing the risk of death from cancer and can also help prevent dementia. Walk to Work Day seems to have been started in 2007 as a promotion for walking. It is observed annually on the first Friday of April.

It can improve your mood as well as boosting your creativity.

Have a positive effect on your heart, including lowering your blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Strengthens your bones and muscles.

 Reduces the pollution that would be generated by driving or using public transport.

It’s free! Therefore considerably cheaper than driving.

It’s the easiest way of getting exercise into your daily routine.

WORLD HEALTH DAY – 7TH April – In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, on World Health Day 2022, WHO will focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.   

WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. This includes the climate crisis which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. The climate crisis is also a health crisis.

While the COVID-19 pandemic showed us the healing power of science, it also highlighted the inequities in our world. The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in all areas of society and underlined the urgency of creating sustainable well-being societies committed to achieving equitable health now and for future generations without breaching ecological limits. The present design of the economy leads to inequitable distribution of income, wealth and power, with too many people still living in poverty and instability. A well-being economy has human well-being, equity and ecological sustainability as its goals. These goals are translated into long-term investments, well-being budgets, social protection and legal and fiscal strategies. Breaking these cycles of destruction for the planet and human health requires legislative action, corporate reform and individuals to be supported and incentivized to make healthy choices.    

World Health Day, held on the 7th April each year, is the term for an annual day dedicated to promoting the benefits of good health and wellbeing worldwide.

First started by the World Health Organisation in 1950, fundraising campaigns are created in the build-up to World Health Day across the globe in an attempt to help those in struggling areas gain better access to crucial health provisions.

World Health Day forms one part of eight official World Health Organisation health awareness events that take place each year. Others include World Tuberculosis Day, World Malaria Day and World AIDs Day.

One of the most popular campaigns that are held on World Health Day occurs on social media. The hashtag #healthforall is used by campaigners and members of the public to highlight the need for accessible health solutions.

MS AWARENESS WEEK – 18TH – 24TH April – MS can be tough, and for many people talking about it can be challenging. Whether you’re opening up to a friend after being newly diagnosed, or finding the right words to describe symptoms to an employer. Sometimes it feels easier not to say anything at all.


That’s why for MS Awareness Week 2021 they spoke up using #LetsTalkMS. Scroll down to find resources to help you to feel confident about speaking up. And read stories of how others found their voice. Help Break the silence around MS.

The MS Society teamed up with Robin (who has MS) from comedy group Noise Next Door. With your help, they wrote a song about life with MS. They are always happy to share MS stories on their social channels and blog.

IBS AWARENESS MONTH – 1ST – 30TH April – If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not alone – IBS is common with prevalence estimated at 10% to 15%. Yet many people remain undiagnosed and unaware that their symptoms indicate a medically recognized disorder.

In 1997, IFFGD designated April as IBS Awareness Month. During this time, we work to focus attention on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.

IBS Awareness Month is listed on the U.S. National Health Observances calendar. Health observances are days, weeks, or months devoted to promoting particular health concerns. Individuals, health professionals, teachers, community groups, and others can use these special times to sponsor health promotion events and stimulate awareness of health issues.

The more we work together to raise awareness for IBS, the greater our ability to impact positive outcomes, such as additional research, increased educational opportunities, and improved patient care for the functional GI community. Here are a few tools for you to raise the visibility of IBS in your community.

Source: Bowel Cancer Awareness Stress.Org NICS WELL World Health Day WHO Twinkl MS Society About IBS

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Hip pain, low back pain, groin pain – are they all connected to one condition or many conditions?

Anatomically, the hip and back connect through the sacroiliac (SI) joint. This joint connects the hip bones to your sacrum, the bone between your lumbar spine (lower back) and tailbone.

According to the Cleveland Clinic back problems can masquerade as hip problems. “There is a lot of overlap,” says hip specialist Trevor Murray, MD. Most pain from hip and back problems is due to ordinary wear and tear on the body. Hip problems usually produce groin pain on the affected side. That’s because the actual joint of the hip is near the spine.

Since the hips and lower spine are so close together, it’s easy to mistake back pain for hip pain or vice versa. It’s not uncommon to see people come in complaining of hip pain when, after doing an exam and listening to their symptoms, it’s a back problem or issue contributing to their overall pain. Unfortunately, the signs for each can be easily confused for one another.

One of the biggest signs that your pain is caused by a problem in your hip is the presence of groin pain. Your hip joint is located behind the groin, that’s why groin pain usually means the hip is the root cause of pain. In some cases, this groin pain will radiate downward toward your knee.

Another obvious sign that your hip is the source of your pain is pain around or over the hip joint. However, hip problems can also refer pain to your low back, contributing to the confusion over where the true source of the pain is located.

Hip symptoms are –

  • Pain is in your groin
  • Discomfort comes and goes, becoming more frequent over time
  • Pain worsens with standing, walking and activity, and is relieved by rest
  • You feel stiff
  • You walk with a limp

Back symptoms are –

  • Is limited to your back, buttocks or hip
  • Shoots down your leg
  • Worsens with sitting or bending
  • Improves when standing or walking

While osteoarthritis is the most common cause, hip pain may also derive from piriformis syndrome, avascular necrosis in the hip, and/or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is the problem that I am suffering from at the moment and so I seem to suffering a double whammy and have problems with both your hip and my back.

Signs that Your Spine is the Source of your Pain…

Whereas groin pain is a telltale sign that the pain is linked to the hip, pain above the waistline that travels down the body typically indicates a low back issue. A low back problem may also be responsible for other types of lower body pain, including thigh, buttock, and below-the-knee pain.

Among the most common degenerative conditions that affect the lumbar spine are herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. These conditions cause pain by irritating your low back nerves, resulting in pain that shoots down your legs (ie, sciatica), weakness, numbness, and reducing your range of motion.

The pattern of pain coming from the lumbar spine can be variable, depending of the specific issue causing the pain. Commonly, pain from arthritis of the spine occurs during transitions such as getting out of bed in the morning or raising up from sitting. It can often then improve after getting moving. In contrast, pain from spinal stenosis or nerve pressure (ie, compression) is often worse with prolonged standing or walking and relieved with sitting.

Once your pain is identified as truly originating in your hip or in your low back, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan to address it. In many cases, this will include medication to reduce inflammation and pain, and a specially designed physical therapy program to teach you movements, stretches, and physical activities to help alleviate symptoms and prevent them from returning. Depending on the nature of your pain, your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications (eg, losing weight or quitting smoking) to treat your pain. For both spine pain and hip pain, surgery is rarely necessary and viewed as a last-resort treatment option.

I have a meeting with my consultant next week to decide what can help my pain as I have tried the injections, physical therapy and lifestyle changes but they do not seem to have made much difference with my pain. Watch this space for my outcome.

Source: Spine Universe, Cleveland Clinic,