Myasthenia Gravis

Neurology Now
September/October 2007
Volume 3(5)
p 14
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Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disease causing muscle weakness that increases during activity. It is also an autoimmune disorder: in MG, the immune system attacks the body's own tissue at the junction between a nerve and a muscle and targets the part of a muscle that receives signals from a nerve. Muscles that control facial expression, eye movements, talking, swallowing, breathing, and limb movements are often affected. Although researchers are uncertain of its cause, they do not believe that MG is hereditary. MG is chronic, but it does not reduce life expectancy. Immunosuppressive drugs can improve muscle weakness.

2 in 10,000:

The estimated prevalence of MG in the United States.

5-10:

The percentage of people with MG who have another autoimmune disease. People with one autoimmune disease have an increased risk of developing another one.

1.5:

The number of females with MG for every 1 male.

Less than 50:

The percentage chance that one identical twin will develop the same autoimmune disease as his or her twin.

10:

The percentage number of MG cases that affect children.

Near 0:

The estimated mortality rate when MG is properly treated. Most people with MG manage their symptoms and lead active lives.

20:

The percentage of people with MG who experience a reversal of some or all symptoms.

Elizabeth Stump

Source: The Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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