For a layman, myasthenia gravis may sound as something impressive. Unfortunately, the disease itself is a kind of muscle weakness. It is a communication breakdown between nerves and muscles. If you find yourself getting fagged very often by repetitive tasks, if you have difficulty breathing, chewing, talking or swallowing, if you have double vision then, chances are that you are suffering from myasthenia gravis.
Although this can affect people of all ages, women constantly fall a victim to this disease especially if they are younger than 40 years or older than 70. Men too are susceptible to this disease if they are older than 50. The thymus gland located below the breastbone seems to be the cause behind the disease. It indirectly produces the antibodies that destroy or block many ‘receptor sites’ resulting in the muscles receiving little or nerve signals. Consequently, there is extreme weakness even to perform the most mundane of tasks. Sadly, there is no cure for it yet, but there are treatments that could make a person improve his/her muscle strength.
Doctors usually prescribe some medication supplemented with certain lifestyle changes that make coping up with myasthenia gravis easier. The medications could be drugs like Mestinon, Prostigmin that are cholinesterase inhibitors and improve communication between nerves and muscles. Other drugs that could help the immune system are Imuran, Cytoxan, Sandimmune and Neoral. Surgery is also suggested but doesn’t always give the necessary result. Other treatments are usually costly and lengthy like the removal of antibodies from the blood (plasmapheresis). Another therapy with lesser side effects is the Intravenous Immune Globulin therapy. But, the effects last maximum for a few months.
Lifestyle changes to cope with myasthenia gravis would be to eat small meals that do not take much of your time and are not difficult to chew. The medication must always be taken after the meals. Avoid extreme heat and stress. Avoid all things that make you work hard to exercise your muscles. Stay away from clutter to avoid taking that extra effort. Finally, never treat yourself without consulting the doctor.