WHAT IS MG?
Deriving its name from Latin and Greek words meaning "grave muscle weakness," Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic, neuromuscular disorder involving a chemical imbalance at the junction of nerves and the muscles they control. Unlike with Multiple Sclerosis, the nerves and muscles affected by MG do not progressively deteriorate. Instead, the chemical imbalance creates an abnormal weakness in the patient's voluntary muscles.
Myasthenia Gravis may involve either single muscles or muscle groups. Most often, it involves the muscles that control chewing, swallowing and eye movement/focus. It also can impact the muscles that control the arms and legs.
The factors that affect autoimmune response in MG are unknown, and there is presently no cure for the disease. However, it is treatable with a high degree of success and can be controlled with medications and/or surgery.
MG is not age- or race-specific, and the role of heredity in the disease is uncertain. Although it is more common in young, adult females, it is sometimes seen in males and children, including newborns. Since MG's symptoms can be intermittent, the disease can be difficult to diagnose. But, once discovered, careful management and patient involvement usually result in optimal health and a comfortable lifestyle.