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Article

Understanding Myasthenia Gravis

By Meghana Giridhar, June 28

June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month! Characterized by grave muscular weakness, myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder causing fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups. According to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc, 14 to 20 per 100,000 people are affected by the condition which is an estimated 36,000 to 60,000. This is a condition that affects more males than females above the age of 50. A non-contagious and non-genetic ailment, MG occurs when muscles tire and weaken easily. Nerve impulses in the brain control the voluntary muscles in our body. These travel to the spot where the nerves meet the muscle fibers. The space between the nerve ending and muscle fiber is called neuromuscular junction. A chemical called acetylcholine is released when the nerve impulse reaches the ending. The chemical travels to many receptor sites and the muscle contracts when enough receptor sites have been activated. It is these receptor sites that get reduced when someone is struck by MG causing weakness. Symptoms include: •    A drooping eyelid •    Blurred or double vision •    Nasal or Slurred speech •    Difficulty chewing and swallowing •    Limited facial expressions •    Weakness in the arms, legs and neck •    Chronic muscle fatigue •    Difficulty breathing Doctors conduct medical and neurological tests to determine the extent of damage by MG. Neurological evaluation includes a check-up of reflexes, muscle strength and tone, senses of touch and sigh, coordination and balance. Other kinds of tests include blood analysis, repetitive nerve stimulation, imaging scans and pulmonary function tests. There are various medications used for treatment along with intravenous therapy and surgery, depending on the person’s age, extent of muscle damage, location of muscles and any other pre-existing medical conditions. MG affects everyone differently. Some go into remission and for others lifestyle changes, rest and well balanced diets can help. However, there is a long way to go before everything about myasthenia gravis is understood. Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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Expert Q&A

Preparing for an Appointment with a Lawyer

Financing & Legal, David Cutner

Question: I have decided to help my parents with legal planning for the future. I am meeting their lawyer soon. What information should my parents and me get for the appointment?

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Radio Show

Radio Show

Harnessing Gratitude and Purpose while Caregiving

July 19

eCareDiary will speak to clinical psychologists, Dr. Barry Jacobs and Dr. Julia Mayer, authors of "AARP Meditations for Caregivers" about creating a positive caregiving experience and using gratitude and purpose to enhance relationships.

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