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MG Crisis

MG Exacerbations & Crisis

 

Living with myasthenia gravis (MG) can be difficult at times, and it is important to be prepared for the future. Knowledge is key to understanding how to deal with a crisis or exacerbation, allowing you to be your own best advocate. An exacerbation, or flare, is when your symptoms increase in frequency and/ or become more severe. It is important to contact your doctor and tell him about any change in symptoms or issues. The ability to stay ahead of the game before it becomes a crisis is crucial. Your physician can intervene to ensure that the exacerbation does not become a crisis. You can stay prepared by downloading Emergency Management materials here.

 

Complications occur when a treatment or medication causes MG to flare, or triggers a crisis. A crisis may occur suddenly or gradually.

 

It is important for you to seek care as soon as you feel a crisis coming on to ensure proper medical intervention. If you are feeling short of breath, it is very important to call 911 or get medical help immediately. 

 

Myasthenic Crisis: This is a complication of MG characterized by worsening of muscle weakness resulting in respiratory failure. This happens when the respiratory muscles get too weak to move enough air in and out of the lungs. A ventilator, which is a machine to help you breathe, is necessary in these cases. The ventilator can help you breathe through a tube in your airway (endotracheal intubation) or through a tight-fitting mask on the face (Bi-PAP). 

 

Even if a ventilator is not yet needed, someone diagnosed with impending myasthenic crisis may be admitted to the hospital. As careful monitoring and aggressive treatment is needed to prevent full myasthenic crisis, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Almost all patients with MG crisis or impending crisis require specialized medical treatments administered in a hospital setting. 

 

Knowing When You Need Medical Intervention: While complications of MG are treatable, some can be life threatening. Myasthenic crisis is a life-threatening condition that affects breathing and requires immediate treatment. It is important to keep in mind that regular care and treatment with your healthcare provider can help prevent flare-ups and potential crisis. Recognize signs of increasing weakness, particularly shortness of breath and difficulty with swallowing, and consult with your physician or go to the emergency room for intervention. Many people can live a full life with MG through effective management of its symptoms.

 

It is important for you to seek care as soon as you feel a crisis coming on to ensure proper medical intervention. If you are feeling short of breath, it is very important to call 911 or get medical help immediately.  

 

Cautionary Drugs

Certain medications and over the counter preparations may cause worsening of MG symptoms. Remember to tell any doctor or dentist about your MG diagnosis. It is important to check with your doctor before starting any new medication including over the counter medications or preparations. For a complete list of cautionary drugs, see here.

A World Without MG