June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease that affects the communication between nerves and muscles in the body. Often, it starts with weakness in the eye muscles and can progress to other parts of the body. Myasthenia Gravis can’t be cured, however with the right treatment symptoms can be managed.
There are early references to MG, as far back as 1672, however, it didn’t receive its name Myasthenia Gravis until the 1880s. MG means “grave muscular weakness”. It has only been in the last century that study has increased and more information about how MG affects the body has and available treatment has gradually improved, with mortality rates going from around 70% to nearly zero.
Healthcare professionals treat people living with MG with a variety of different therapies. These include medication that suppresses the immune system or improves the communication between the nerves and muscles. There are other types of treatment too, including injections, transfusions and surgery. Everyone living with MG responds differently to treatment and continue to live their lives with varying degrees of activity.
Increasing awareness of MG will lead to more funding, research into treatment and eventual improvement in living for those with MG.
How can you help
Step 1 – Education
The first step is to increase your knowledge. Check out the sites below to read more about Myasthenia Gravis.
Step 2 – Spread the awareness
Once you have a level of knowledge about MG, please take some time to spread your newly found knowledge. Next time someone is talking about a more well known auto-immune disease such as diabetes (type 1), multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, let them know you learnt about a new one recently!
The Brisbane Story Bridge recently did its bit for raising awareness when it lit the bridge in teal.
Ten years ago, my family was also unaware of MG. However, Myasthenia isn’t the only autoimmune disease out there that affects people’s lives, and it isn’t the only condition that needs more research. I encourage everyone to take some time to learn about a medical condition that you might not have known about before. You can start with Myasthenia Gravis – links are above to learn more!