What if one morning you woke up and couldn’t open your eyes—no matter how hard you tried?
As we age, losing control of muscles and bodily functions is one of the most difficult experiences we face. After age 40, we typically begin noticing blurry vision, weaker limbs, shortness of breath, and forgetfulness. These symptoms are generally considered a natural part of the aging process but could also be attributed to any number of various disease states.
Becoming more common
Myasthenia gravis, often referred to as MG, occurs when a defect in the body’s immune system causes it to create antibodies against its own muscle tissue. The result is severe muscle fatigue, and can cause blurry or double vision, drooping eyelids, impaired speech, and weakness throughout the body.
MG is commonly found in women under the age of 40 and men over the age of 60, but symptoms can occur at any age. This neuromuscular condition affects between 20,000 to 200,000 people every year. Intravenous immune globulin (IVIg)—a commonly prescribed infusion treatment—is expected to grow in popularity in 2021 due to the rising acceptance of IVIg to treat symptoms. (Source: Allied Market Research)
Many conditions present similar symptoms to MG. For instance, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis patients commonly experience chronic fatigue; people with lupus may have migraines and joint pain; and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may feel tingling or prickling sensations throughout the body and face. Since there is limited research on MG, it tends to get overlooked as a possible diagnosis.
Commonly reported symptoms:
- Drooping of one or both eyelids
- Blurry or double vision
- Change in facial expression
- Impaired speech
- Unstable or waddling gait
- Weakness in limbs, neck, arms, or hands
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your physician immediately.
There’s good news
IVIg therapy is available for patients in the home. ARJ nurses are experts at administering IVIg infusion treatments, which involves intravenously introducing normal antibodies into the body to alter the immune response. And with regular treatment, MG can be controlled. This type of care has been used for decades to treat a variety of immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders. More recently, IVIg infusions have been used extensively for neuromuscular conditions.
Early treatment makes a difference. Patients who receive early and regular care can often live normal lives. “We provide immune globulin care to people all over the country and find ongoing treatment reduces or eliminates symptoms,” said Edie Gigot, Chief Clinical Officer at ARJ. “Our patients have reported a decrease in fatigue, improvements in body strength, and an overall better quality of life.”
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