Myasthenia Gravis: Definition (Nursing)

by Prof. Lawes

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    00:00 Hi, welcome to our video series on neuromuscular disorders.

    00:05 In this part, we'll take a look at myasthenia gravis.

    00:08 Now MG for short is a chronic autoimmune disease of neuromuscular system.

    00:14 Okay, so let' break this down a little bit.

    00:18 Myasthenia gravis, it's an autoimmune disease and it affects the neuromuscular system.

    00:24 Now the name can tell you a lot.

    00:26 It comes from the Latin and Greek and it means grave or serious.

    00:30 So "my" means muscle.

    00:32 So this is grave muscle weakness.

    00:35 Because my MG causes weakness in the skeletal muscles which are responsible for breathing and moving parts of your body including your arms and legs.

    00:45 So when we're working with a patient who has myasthenia gravis, what we're worried about is grave muscle weakness.

    00:54 Now we'll talk about the early signs and then the signs that they're really getting into trouble.

    00:58 But pay attention, since it hits the skeletal muscles, remember, your diaphragm is a skeletal muscle.

    01:05 So if something's gonna make that one weak, we're going to have a respiratory emergency as one of the worst case scenarios.

    01:12 So there's times when the muscle weakness in myasthenia gravis becomes worse.

    01:17 You see on the left there, we have a picture of someone running, right? So sometimes after periods of activity, the muscle weakness will become worse for the patient.

    01:25 That's why one of the most important patient education points we can give them is that they're going to need to plan periods of rest.

    01:32 So when they notice they're starting to have symptoms, they need to take some extra rest to help those symptoms resolve.

    01:38 Now that's a pretty interesting picture we have there.

    01:42 Nobody really wants to look like this, right? Well, almost looks like he's a little bit drunk but that's not what it is.

    01:49 This patient was suffering from my myasthenia gravis.

    01:52 See, the muscle weakness can impact the eyes, the eyelids, their facial expression, then they might have difficulty chewing, talking, or swallowing.

    02:02 So this is usually the first sign that you'll see in patients.

    02:05 Most often, patients will experience these types of symptoms.

    02:09 They'll notice that their eyelids can't stay open or they start to have trouble with how they normally when they're sitting down to eat a meal.

    02:16 They have a trouble chewing or with talking.

    02:19 Those are difficult and we want to watch those closely.

    02:22 But when it really becomes a life-threatening problem is that it might impact their breathing and maybe even their neck and limb movement.

    02:28 So start keeping in mind one of the worst case scenarios for myasthenia gravis is if it progresses to respiratory problems.

    02:36 early symptoms you'll see, maybe difficulties with the eyes.

    02:41 Now we don't know how to cure myasthenia gravis yet.

    02:44 But our current therapies with most myasthenia gravis patients, well, it's not as grave as it used to be, because we've gotten better at helping these patients lead full lives.

    02:55 Now usually the treatments will focus on how we can control symptoms and we can help people live the high quality of life.

    03:02 Most individuals with this condition have a very normal life expectancy.

    03:06 So it's problematic, but you just have to be sharp on your observation and assessment skills and educate your patient to know when they're starting to get in to a little bit of trouble.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Myasthenia Gravis: Definition (Nursing) by Prof. Lawes is from the course Chronic Neurological Disorders (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. It is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue in the skeletal muscles.
    2. It is characterized by weakness and rapid degeneration of the nervous system.
    3. It is characterized by weakness and suppression in the respiratory tract.
    4. It is characterized by weakness and deterioration of the skeletal system.
    1. "Although there is not yet a cure for MG, symptoms can be controlled and you can live a very long and full life."
    2. "There is a cure for MG, so once you begin treatment, you will start to feel much better."
    3. "With the proper treatment, you will be able to live life as if you do not even have the disease."
    4. "I know this is very unfortunate news, so I will give you time alone to think about your life moving forward."

    Author of lecture Myasthenia Gravis: Definition (Nursing)

     Prof. Lawes

    Prof. Lawes

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