Submitted By Robin Hengels, St. Cloud Resident
Why does this matter? Well, my name is Robin Hengels and I am a lifelong resident of St. Cloud who was diagnosed with a rare Neuromuscular disease known as Myasthenia Gravis (MG) three years ago. Until that day, I had never heard of MG. Perhaps you have never heard of it either!
MG is an Autoimmune Neuromuscular Disease that disrupts the communication between the nerves and muscles mimicking paralysis in voluntary muscles that can recover with rest. MG can affect the way a person is able to walk, use their arms, speak, chew and swallow. It can make a Myasthenic appear to be intoxicated because of stumbling and slurred speech. It causes weakness in the muscles around the eyes and can cause double vision. All of this is bad enough, but it can get worse. A Myasthenic can develop weakness in their diaphragm. This is the muscle at the bottom of our rib cage that we use to draw air into our lungs. When this muscle becomes paralyzed, it is called a Myasthenic Crisis and if not recognized and treated promptly and properly, the resulting respiratory failure can lead to death. Most first responders and Emergency room physicians don’t know about MG and how to recognize an impending crisis because it is so rare and presents very differently than one would expect. This needs to change and can only change through awareness!
What makes Myasthenia Gravis a difficult disease to diagnose or treat is the fact that no two patients have the exact same symptoms and also because the symptoms can appear and then disappear with rest. Please help me to spread awareness because you could save someone’s life!
Go to www.myasthenia.org to learn more. #IhaveheardofMG