June is Myasthenia Gravis (MG) Month
What is myasthenia gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is a disorder causing extreme muscle weakness that can impact a person’s ability to see, walk, talk, breathe and even smile. The condition is rare and non-contagious, and affects people of all races, genders and ages. In MG, the body’s immune system attacks the connection between the neurons and the muscle fiber, which limits the ability of the brain to control muscle movement. The degree of muscle weakness can vary from person to person, and day to day. There are effective treatments for most, but not all with MG. There is currently no cure.
In myasthenia gravis, muscle weakness often first appears in the muscles of the face, neck and jaw. The arm and leg muscles are affected later.
Facts About Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
• Myasthenia gravis is a disorder causing extreme muscle weakness that can impact a
person’s ability to see, walk, talk, breathe and even smile.
• Myasthenia gravis is a rare, non-contagious condition that affects people of all races,
genders and ages, and is typically not inherited.
• In MG, the body’s immune system attacks the connection between the neurons and the
muscle fiber, limiting the ability of the brain to control muscle movement.
• The degree of muscle weakness can vary from person to person, and day to day.
• Common symptoms of MG may include: drooping eyelids, blurred or double vision,
slurred speech, difficulty chewing and swallowing, weakness in the arms and legs, chronic
muscle fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
• Due to the high number of misdiagnoses, the precise number of people with MG is
unknown, but MG is estimated to affect approximately 100,000 Americans.
• To diagnose myasthenia gravis, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical
history, and may conduct several tests, including muscle strength tests and imaging scans.
• There are effective treatments, but there is currently no cure for MG, and although rare
today, it can prove fatal.
• Some effective treatments include medicines and surgeries that allow many MG
patients to lead full lives with significant improvement in their muscle weakness. However,
about 10-15% of those with MG are considered “refractory” meaning current treatments do
not work for them.
MG affects women more often than men and tends to begin earlier. The average age of onset in women is 28; the average age of onset in men is 42. In about 10 percent of cases, MG begins in childhood (juvenile onset), which tends to progress slowly and has a high incidence of remission.
The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) is committed to finding a cure for myasthenia gravis and closely related disorders; improving treatment options; and providing information and support to people with myasthenia gravis through research, education, community programs and advocacy.
To learn more visit:
To schedule an appointment at Pinehurst Neurology call (910) 295-6868.
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