As a biokineticist, we deal with so many different chronic diseases, neurological problems and injuries but ever case is different and every patient is treated differently. There does a come a time when we see a case that is totally new to us. I have been in private practice for eight years now and have never come across a patient that is suffering from Myasthenia Gravis, until one of my close friends was diagnosed at 34 years old. So what do we do when we come across a case that we have never come across, we research!
Myasthenia Gravis is a classified as a long-term neuromuscular disease. There is no cure for this disease and it is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of muscles that are under your voluntary control, this is caused by a breakdown in the communication channel between nerves and muscles. In patients with Myasthenia Gravis their immune system produces antibodies that block or destroy many of your muscles receptor sites for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, with fewer receptor sites available your muscle receives fewer nerve signals, resulting in the weakness that is felt. Another symptom of patients with Myasthenia Gravis is that their thymus gland is abnormally large. The thymus gland is there for the maintenance of the production of the antibodies that block acetylcholine.
Although there is no cure for this disease there are great treatments available that can help in the assistance of relieving the signs and symptoms of the disease. Some of the symptoms of the disease can be seen as:
• Double vision
• Drooping eyelids
• Difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing
• Weakness in arms and legs
This disease can affect anyone of any age, but it is more common in woman younger than 40 years old and men older than 60 years of age.
There are some aspects that can increase or worsen the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis these can be seen as fatigue; illness; stress; some medication; pregnancy and menstrual periods.
When reading the research it was initially said that exercise in patients with Myasthenia Gravis should avoid exercise as it could worsen the symptoms but more recent research it has been decided that low impact exercise is recommended for these patients. Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle can make the symptoms worsen as well as the chance of developing secondary conditions.
These patients will require carefully designed exercise programs that will assist in increasing aerobic capacity and muscle strength, there are many aspects that need to be considered when designing the exercise programs of these patients. Some aspects that need to be considered are:
• Time of day of the training
• Type of exercise
• Duration of exercise
• The environment in which they exercise
It is best for patients with Myasthenia Gravis that they always consult with a medical professional to get the go ahead and the to consult and train with a qualified Biokineticist to make sure that they are following the correct program that is designed for them.