June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, and the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America wants you to learn more about this neuromuscular condition that affects so many Americans.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular condition that primarily affects the muscles, and is characterised by weakness or fatigue of the muscles. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis are most severe in adults, but symptoms can begin at any age. There are several types of myasthenia gravis, primarily depending on the area of the body that they affect. For instance, ocular myasthenia gravis primarily affects the muscles that are responsible for controlling the movement of the eyes, the area around the eyes and eyelids. When these muscles become weak as a result of the condition, the person may suffer from drooping eyelids, double vision or other problems. Ocular myasthenia gravis affects as many as 15% of persons diagnosed with this condition.
Another form of the condition is general myasthenia gravis, characterized by symptoms across the body. These may include not just double vision and drooping eyelids, but also breathing difficulties, severe muscular fatigue after performing an activity, muscular weakness, problems in swallowing, and other problems.
Mild symptoms of myasthenia gravis may be managed with treatment. Sometimes, in fact, treatment may not even be required. However, if your symptoms are so severe that they affect your ability to work and earn a living, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.