Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month is observed in June every year. This month is an important time set aside to recognize the struggles of people with Myasthenia Gravis, commonly known as M.G., which is a neuromuscular disease that leads to varying degrees of muscular weakness. The month is set aside for people from the M.G. community to come together and spread information about this lesser-known neuromuscular disease. It’s also spent fundraising for patients and researchers working on finding cures for the condition, and improving quality of life.
History of Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month
Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month is observed every year in June. It’s observed across the country to allow people from the M.G. community to come together and raise awareness about this condition.
M.G. is a neuromuscular disease that causes skeletal muscle weakness in varying degrees. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the neuro-muscular junction, causing antibodies to develop that block or destroy the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are found at the junction between nerves and muscles. The breakdown of these receptors prevents muscles from receiving signals from the nerves and contracting accordingly, causing overall muscle weakness.
People affected by this disease find that the most commonly affected muscles are in the eyes, face, and throat, which affects the ability to swallow. Other issues that result from M.G. include drooping eyelids, double vision, difficulty speaking, and difficulty walking. Symptoms include a hoarse voice, fatigue, difficulty walking up the stairs or lifting objects, and facial paralysis.
M.G. is treated with medication including immunosuppressants, neostigmine, and pyridostigmine, which are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Surgical intervention may be required in some cases, during which surgeons might remove the thymus of the affected person, which is a lymphoid organ of the immune system.
Diagnosis of this disease requires both a physical and neurological exam to evaluate muscle weakness, movement and sensation, muscle tone, and motor function. If diagnosed, there are treatments that help to manage the symptoms by controlling the immune system response.
Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month timeline
Four English doctors, Thomas Willis, Samuel Wilks, Wilhelm Erb, and Samuel Goldflam, discuss and write about the M.G. symptoms.
German Physician Friedrich Jolly proposes the term ‘myasthenia gravis pseudo-paralytica’ for the condition.
Scottish Physician Mary Broadfoot Walker uses physostigmine to treat a patient with M.G.
Jim Patrick and Jon Lindstrom demonstrate that M.G.-like symptoms are caused in rabbits injected with purified acetylcholine receptors.
Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month FAQs
Can myasthenia gravis lead to death?
In about 3% of diagnosed cases, the disease can lead to the patient’s death.
What happens if you don’t treat myasthenia gravis?
Not treating myasthenia gravis can lead to injury or death.
Does myasthenia gravis cause pain?
The muscle weakness caused by M.G. can lead to non-specific aches and pain.
How to Observe Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month
Share information about M.G.
Spread information among your friends and family. This month is a great way to encourage people to get diagnosed if they have been feeling unwell.
Share stories from the community
People in the M.G. community come together this month to share their stories and experiences. Share these stories so they reach a wider audience and perhaps someone who needs to hear them.
Host a talk with doctors
It is important to talk about M.G. Work with your community leaders to organize a talk about this lesser-known condition.
5 Facts About Myasthenia Gravis That You Probably Didn’t Know
The condition is underdiagnosed
While M.G. is considered fairly rare, it is likely that the condition simply goes undiagnosed in many cases.
A large percentage of receptors are affected
People with M.G. find that about 80% of the receptors at their neuro-muscular junction are affected.
The exact cause is unknown
No one really knows what causes M.G. but there is a possibility that it is caused by bacterial or viral proteins.
Diagnosis is becoming common
The diagnosis of M.G. is becoming more common in the country, with increasing awareness.
A normal life expectancy
Most people affected by M.G. find that they can live normal lives with treatment and their life expectancy remains normal.
Why Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month is Important
We want people to be informed
The disease is underdiagnosed. This month ensures that potential patients and doctors have the information they need for a diagnosis.
We want to support patients
Patients and relatives of patients share stories during this month to support each other. We want to help by sharing their stories and offering our support.
We want to find a cure
There is currently no cure for this condition. Fundraising for researchers can be used to help identify a cure for this condition soon.
Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month dates