Autoimmune Disease

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis interferes with messages your nerves send to your muscles. Myasthenia gravis often affects muscles in your head. Common symptoms are trouble with eye and eyelid movement, facial and swallowing. If you have myasthenia gravis, it is important to follow your treatment plan. If you do, you can expect your life to be normal or close to it.

Myasthenia gravis is caused by a problem in the transmission of nerve signals to your muscles. Normally, nerve endings release a substance that attaches to receptors on your muscles. That tells your muscles to contract. If you have myasthenia gravis, your body's own immune system makes antibodies to block that signal.

SOURCE: MedlinePlus- A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health

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March is Autoimmune Disease
Awareness Month!

Autoimmune diseases result from a dysfunction of the immune system. The immune system protects you from disease and infection. Sometimes, though, the immune system can produce autoantibodies that attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This can lead to autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body. More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified. Some are relatively well known, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, while others are rare and difficult to diagnose.

Collectively, autoimmune diseases are among the most prevalent diseases in the U.S., affecting more than 23.5 million Americans. They are more common among women, and while some are more prevalent among white people, others are more common among African-Americans and Hispanics. Autoimmune diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent, for reasons unknown.

Some autoimmune diseases are life-threatening, and most are debilitating and require a lifetime of treatment. There are treatments available to reduce the symptoms and effects from many autoimmune diseases, but cures have yet to be discovered. Since most autoimmune diseases are rare, patients can often spend years seeking a proper diagnosis.

Learn more about autoimmune diseases here.