Rare autoimmune disease that attacks muscles

Healthy Living looks at MG, a rare autoimmune disease

This June is a special awareness month for a disease you’ve probably never heard about. It’s called Myasthenia Gravis (MG), a very rare auto-immune disease causing muscle weakness which affects all ethnic groups and both genders. It can occur at any age but is most common in young adult women and older men. While little conversation takes place about this disease, there are Belizeans who are living with MG. Tonight on Healthy Living, I sit down with one patient who has decided to take a pro-active role and starting a support group for myasthenic patients.

Nicola Longsworth, Myasthenic Patient & Founder of Support Group.

“At the age of three, I was a normal child and I was doing everything that a three year old should be doing and then several things changed.”

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Nicola Longsworth was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease as a child. It was the attentiveness of her parents that made them realize that something was wrong.

Nicola Longsworth

“My eyes, crossing, one eye would be looking straight the other would be looking in the opposite direction. I started to become very fatigued, very tired all the time. I would be having dinner and my head would fall into my food, and I would also fall off the chair.”

Her parents proceeded to follow up with numerous medical visits and eventually Nicola was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis or “grave muscle weakness.” In this autoimmune disease, the nerve signals are attacked and damaged which causes a breakdown between nerves and muscles and muscles then begin to tire and weaken easily.

“The body simply fights against itself. The antibodies fight against your body. It’s almost like it becomes a stranger. The symptoms there are times that you cannot breathe, there are some situations where you can have difficulty breathing and need to go on life support. That’s the extreme case. There are cases where you need to do surgery on your thymus gland and those are the glands that are known to produce these antibodies.”

Rare brain disorder suspected in death.(Health)(Fatal illness: Doctors say Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease may have killed Jerry Ray Collins.): An article from: The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Book (The Register Guard)

Provinces and territories talk health care  — Canada NewsWire
Participating provincial and territorial health ministers discussed the significant challenges they face in providing new drug therapies to treat rare diseases.

Popular Q&A

Why does the body attack itself in autoimmune diseases?

And if it’s possible - How come it doesn’t happen most of the time?

I am no expert, but its my understanding that the body has cells that attack "bad" cells. This is your immune system. A problem occurs if the body cannot tell which are the baddies and which are the goodies and it ends up attacking good cells as well.

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