Tahseen Mozaffar & Nancy Law: June 13, 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON A DEBILITATING, RARE NEUROMUSCULAR DISEASE 

*** June is Myasthenia Gravis (MG) Awareness Month ***

 

TAHSEEN MOZAFFAR, MD

Vice Chair for Education and Professor, Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine; Director, ALS and Neuromuscular Center, UC Irvine

NANCY LAW, CEO

Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America and myasthenia gravis patient

Nancy Law was a successful executive with the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society when her own health challenges began. She started having difficulty speaking, felt fatigued and thought she had a sinus infection. Antibiotics didn’t help. When she developed numbness in her face and difficulty chewing, she knew something was wrong. Based on her experience with the MS Society, she suspected that it was caused by a neurological problem and reached out to various neurologists who she knew through her line of work. Despite her connections, however, it still took numerous visits to different physicians’ offices until she ultimately found one who correctly identified her condition: myasthenia gravis (MG).

MG is a rare, autoimmune neuromuscular condition that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. Symptoms often begin in the eye area, but when they spread to other parts of the body, it is called generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG). gMG can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, leaving patients fatigued from everyday activities or unable to perform certain daily tasks like brushing their hair or chewing and swallowing. In some cases, symptoms can be life threatening. Because symptoms of gMG can mimic other neurological disorders, patients may be initially misdiagnosed or experience delays in diagnosis or treatment. Although there is no known cure for gMG, it is important for patients to speak with their doctors regularly about their disease – and for those who have unresolved symptoms or show no improvement on treatment, to be their own advocates to better manage their disease.

June is MG Awareness Month. On June 13, Nancy Law, CEO of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, will be available to share her personal journey with this rare condition, discuss the importance of being your own health advocate and speaking with your doctor about your symptoms. She’ll be joined by Dr. Tahseen Mozaffar, a neurologist who specializes in treating MG and a consultant to Alexion Pharmaceuticals, who will discuss the symptoms, prognosis and options for managing the disease.

 

For more information please visit: www.myasthenia.org

 

More About Generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG): Common symptoms of gMG can include slurred speech, choking, double or blurred vision, disabling fatigue, weakness in the arms and legs and difficulty breathing. gMG is a variable disease that affects each person differently, meaning physicians must take an individualized treatment approach for each patient. Diagnosis requires a thorough patient history, coupled with blood tests to measure for antibodies, bedside assessments and electronic nerve stimulation.

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