Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

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myasthenia gravis awareness month

June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

Today we’re going to be talking about Myasthenia Gravis, which is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Myasthenia Gravis is also a rare disease.

Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic condition that affects the muscles, and causes them to become tired or weaken. Weakness comes and goes, made worse from use and gets better from rest. People with Myasthenia Gravis experience periods of worsened symptoms, called exacerbations. They also have periods where symptoms are more controlled and less severe. One hallmark of this Myasthenia Gravis is that muscles become weakened from use, but get better after rest.

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month explains that Myasthenia Gravis can affect anyone. Typical diagnosis periods vary by gender. Men with the disease usually develop it between the ages of 50 and 70. Women with Gyasthenia Gravis tend to be diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Sometimes, babies born to a mother with Gyasthenia Gravis will experience temporary symptoms. This is due to the transfer of antibodies in the mother to the baby during birth. Neonatal myasthenia can be very dangerous, even life threatening. The baby’s body usually rids itself of the antibodies in the first few weeks. The baby then develops normal muscle function, strength, and tone.

Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases, the body mistakenly fights its own healthy cells. Each autoimmune disease attacks the body in different ways and places. In Myasthenia Gravis, the immune system affects the muscles by making antibodies that affect the nerve signals to the muscles. Or, the antibodies may block them entirely. Like other autoimmune diseases, diagnosing Myasthenia Gravis can take years. Many autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms. It may take years to differentiate which autoimmune disease is causing problems.

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis involve muscle weakness. One of the first symptoms patients notice is in the eyes. Myasthenia Gravis tends to cause eye muscle weakness early on in the disease process. This causes eyelid droopiness, double vision and/or blurry vision. The clinical term for eyelid drooping is ptosis, and the blurry/double vision is called diplopia.

Other people have difficulty walking. Generally, weakness in the lower extremities causes an unusual or unstable gait. Sometimes, people have fatigue in the facial muscles. One hallmark symptom of myasthenia Gravis is difficulty swallowing because the esophagus weakens or becoming tired. This increases the the risk for choking. Patients also experience shortness of breath and difficulty speaking because the muscles responsible for both actions become fatigued.

What Causes Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis is neither contagious nor hereditary. There is some evidence to suggest a genetic susceptibility to the disease. The disease is thought to develop because the thymus gland gives developing immune cells the wrong message. This results in the production of antibodies to the acetylcholine receptors. These receptors are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. The disease may also be caused by a virus or bacteria that triggers an autoimmune response.

Myasthenic crisis is a critical and acute state caused by the disease. In myasthenic crisis, muscles that responsible for breathing become so weak that the person is unable to breathe on their own. In severe cases it may lead to complete lung failure. When this occurs, emergency ventilation is necessary to keep the person alive. Things that trigger the disease to act up include other illnesses, such as a cold or flu, pneumonia, or other lung infections. Changes in medicine, and hormones can also cause the disease flare.

Myasthenia Gravis and Causes – Be Aware During Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

A thymus tumor (the thymus is a gland in the chest) may also cause Myasthenic crisis. The thymus is believed to be a source of myasthenia Gravis. Some patients develop the disease as a result of a tumor on the thymus, while others develop it without any tumors.

Myasthenic crisis is diagnosed a number of ways. Diagnosis uses imaging studies such as x-rays, MRI’s, and CT/CAT scans to look at the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Doctors also use blood gas tests and pulmonary function tests. Blood gas tests are blood tests indicates how well the lungs are functioning. Pulmonary function tests show doctors how well the body is using oxygen.


In summary, the prognosis for Myasthenia Gravis varies greatly. People who undergo surgery to remove their thymus have about a 50 percent rate of remission. This surgery is the most promising option for achieving remission without the need for medications on an ongoing basis. This only works for about 30 percent of the people who have the surgery. Even without full remission, around 50 percent have very favorable outcomes.

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Personalized Cause® believes in the power of awareness, which is why we’ve started this awareness blog. We strive to create a community of educated and compassionate people, while also calling attention to causes that may be unknown or misunderstood. I hope you’ll join us for our next installment of the awareness blog.“>Teal awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for myasthenia Gravis. To order a teal custom awareness ribbon, visit Personalized Cause.

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