What do I need to know

About Myasthenia Gravis

advanced divider

What is Myasthenia Gravis (MG?)

Myasthenia Gravis (pronounced My-as-theen-ee-a Grav-us), also know as “MG,” is a serious auto-immune neuromuscular disease that manifests itself by varying degrees of weakness in the body.

What Does This Mean? The Body Attacks Its Own Cells.

  2. ANTIBODIES block the chemical signals from reaching the RECEPTOR SITES on MUSCLE cells.
  3. Without these CHEMICAL SIGNALS, the RECEPTOR SITES are reduced, causing weakness.

Who Gets MG?

MG affects both men and women and occurs across all racial and ethnic groups. It most commonly impacts women under 40 and men over 60, but it can occur at any age, including childhood. We don't know why it occurs, but it is not contagious or directly inherited. It is estimated that 20 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. have MG.

Who gets mg? Studies have found people with MG:

For every 100,000 people



will be living with MG.

MG more frequently affects women than men.

Age of onset peaks 40 for females and 60 for men.





What are MG Symptoms?

Someone with MG may experience just one or a combination of these symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies from patient to patient. Mild cases are temporarily relieved by rest. Strength is usually best in the morning, but fatigue and weakness increase as the day goes on. Symptoms can come and go at first, making diagnosis difficult. Tiredness in the usual sense is not a typical symptom.

Blurred or Double Vision

Involuntary Drooping Eyelids

Slurred Speech

Loss of Facial Expression

Difficulty Chewing and Swallowing

Weakness in Arms and Legs

Nasal Voice, Usually after Prolonged Talking

How is MG Diagnosed?

Is There A Cure For MG?

There is not yet a cure for MG. However, the disease does not reduce life expectancy – most people with MG manage their symptoms and lead active lives. These strategies can help:


Maintain a well-balanced diet and regular eating habits, get sufficient rest, and reduce stress.


Schedule regular rest periods during the day and delegate tasks to others when possible.


Example: If swallowing is affected, plan meals at times when your muscle strength is greater.

How Is MG Treated?

While there’s no known cure, effective treatments allow most people with MG to lead full, healthy lives. Treatment options include:

Anticholinesterase agents, such as Mestinon, promote the activation of more receptor sites. Corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) and immunosupporesive agents (e.g., Imuran, and CellCept) may be used to suppress the abnormal action of the immune system.

Thymectomy is surgical removal of the thymus glad located behind the breastbone. It can result in noticeable improvement or remission.

Plasmapheresis removes the abnormal antibodies from the plasma of the blood.

Intravenous immune globulin (IVIg) replaces a patient’s antibodies with those donated by plasma donors. Newer therapies interfere with antibody life cycle or activity. 

Treatment decisions are based on the severity of weakness, the patient’s age and the degree of impairment.

Understanding Myasthenia Gravis

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of Michigan (MG-MI) was founded in 1976 to raise awareness about MG and provide resources and support to persons living with MG and their caregivers.