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Myasthenia Gravis

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By Ericka Greene, MD, director of the Neuromuscular Clinic at Houston Methodist Hospital, as told to Kara Mayer Robinson
Many things can impact life with myasthenia gravis (MG). Everyone’s experience is unique, but here are some things that may affect yours.

Everyone’s experience is unique, but here are some things that may affect yours.
Things like socioeconomic status, gender, immigration status, ethnic background, and even ZIP code may play a role in the care you receive.
Health Disparities
For example, insurance issues and financial struggles may make it harder to get a diagnosis, treatment, or emergency care. Health disparities may delay a proper diagnosis and much-needed treatment. You can also find resources in your community.
You may find charity clinics that offer free or discounted care. Patient assistance programs sponsored by pharmacy companies may provide medication if you’re financially eligible.
Quality of Life
In recent years, experts have started to focus more on how MG affects quality of life. When researchers study new therapies, they also look at how they affect your daily activities.
Quality-of-life issues may lead to depression, isolation, and anxiety, which may worsen your fatigue and daily function.
Stigma of Myasthenia Gravis
Even within the field of neurology, some neurologists don’t feel comfortable treating people who need more than one or two therapies. A prime example is if you need handicap parking because of limited walking.
Similarly, if you need to apply for disability due to MG limitations, it may take resources and time to get disability status from a system that silently communicates that you should be able to work, even if your doctor provides records to support it.
You may not be able to use certain treatments that stabilize MG while you’re pregnant. Your doctor should talk with you about your needs, expectations, desires, and how to address the issues specific to being a woman with MG.
Gender Issues
These targeted therapies have fewer side effects and may lead to better daily function and quality of life.
Access to New Treatments