Hi, welcome to our video series
on neuromuscular disorders.
In this part, we'll take a look
at myasthenia gravis.
Now MG for short
is a chronic autoimmune disease
of neuromuscular system.
Okay, so let' break this down a little bit.
it's an autoimmune disease
and it affects the neuromuscular system.
Now the name can tell you a lot.
It comes from the Latin and Greek
and it means grave or serious.
So "my" means muscle.
So this is grave muscle weakness.
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.
So when we're working with a patient
who has myasthenia gravis,
what we're worried about
is grave muscle weakness.
Now we'll talk about the early signs
and then the signs that
they're really getting into trouble.
But pay attention,
since it hits the skeletal muscles,
remember, your diaphragm
is a skeletal muscle.
So if something's gonna make
that one weak,
we're going to have a respiratory emergency
as one of the worst case scenarios.
So there's times when the muscle weakness
in myasthenia gravis becomes worse.
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.
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.
So when they notice
they're starting to have symptoms,
they need to take some extra rest
to help those symptoms resolve.
Now that's a pretty
interesting picture we have there.
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.
This patient was suffering
from my myasthenia gravis.
See, the muscle weakness
can impact the eyes, the eyelids,
their facial expression,
then they might have difficulty
chewing, talking, or swallowing.
So this is usually the first sign
that you'll see in patients.
Most often, patients will experience
these types of symptoms.
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.
They have a trouble chewing
or with talking.
Those are difficult
and we want to watch those closely.
But when it really becomes
a life-threatening problem
is that it might impact their breathing
and maybe even their neck
and limb movement.
So start keeping in mind
one of the worst case scenarios
for myasthenia gravis
is if it progresses
to respiratory problems.
early symptoms you'll see,
maybe difficulties with the eyes.
Now we don't know how to cure
myasthenia gravis yet.
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.
Now usually the treatments will focus
on how we can control symptoms
and we can help people live
the high quality of life.
Most individuals with this condition
have a very normal life expectancy.
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.