MG Is an Autoimmune Disease3,6
That means MG is caused by your immune system not working the way it’s supposed to—it’s overactive.3 MG is not genetic (inherited), and it’s not contagious.7,8 It sometimes runs in families, but the reasons some people get it aren’t fully understood.9 It affects people of all ages and races, but it is slightly more common in women 20 to 30 years old and men 50 to 60 years old.4
MG is a rare disease. Only about 31,000 to 67,000 Americans have MG.10,11 Since it’s rare, some medical professionals are not fully aware of it or its symptoms. That means symptoms may not be identified as MG immediately, which can be frustrating. Once it’s diagnosed, you’ll want to see a doctor who is familiar with MG–probably a neurologist or a neuromuscular specialist who has treated a number of MG patients.
MG affects the neuromuscular junction, where nerves and muscles meet and communicate.3 The immune system attacks muscles, which prevents them from receiving messages properly from nerves.3,12-14 As a result, the muscles don’t contract as much as they are supposed to.15
The early symptoms of MG are sometimes misunderstood. It’s easy to think that a person is feeling weak because they didn’t sleep well, worked out too hard, ate the wrong thing or are feeling depressed.3
In addition, MG muscle weakness can vary throughout the day and throughout the body.3,16 And symptoms are different for different people.16,17