Muscles form a major part of our body system and help us move about and perform different activities and functions. Without properly functioning muscles, a person has to face multiple problems in performing simple daily activities and may even become dependant on others. Something similar to this happens in a disease called Myasthenia gravis.
This is a chronic neuromuscular disease in which patients develop varying degrees of muscle weakness. The weakness increases during periods of physical activities and improves after taking rest. The muscle weakness can sometimes be extremely severe or ‘grave’ as the name of the disease implies.
Conserving your energy by balancing and modifying your activities as given below can help you cope with thesymptoms of myasthenia gravis in a better way.
- Adjust your meal times. A patient of myasthenia gravis should ideally eat when his or her muscle strength is good. So, plan your eating routine taking this into consideration. Chew your food slowly and pause between bites of food.
- Use safety precautions at home. Move all loose rugs out of places where you walk. Install railings or grab bars next to the bathtub and the steps. Keep the sidewalks and driveways outside your home cleared of snow, leaves and other potential debris.
- Use electric appliances wherever possible. This will help you conserve your energy. For example; you can try using electric can openers or an electric toothbrush.
- Consider wearing an eye patch if the disease has affected the muscles in the eyes, causing double vision. You can wear it while writing, reading or watching television. Switch the eye patch to the other eye periodically to prevent strain on the eyes.
- Plan your shopping and other errands to coincide with the times at which your energy levels are high.
Besides this, you also need to follow some guidelines to keep yourself in the best health and to prevent complications:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Reduce your intake of proteins to 10% of your total calorie consumption. Eliminate milk and milk products. Ginger and garlic have properties that help to improve the symptoms of this disease. Include them in your daily diet.
- Take your medicines on time. Your physician may prescribe drugs like Mestinon for strengthening your muscles. This drug contains Pyridostigmine Bromide that works by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the body. The average dose of Mestinon is ten 60-mg tablets everyday. They should be spaced throughout the day so as to achieve good muscle strength when required. It is advisable to start using this medicine after consulting a physician regarding its dosage instructions.
- Find ways to relax. Stress can worsen your condition. You can try deep breathing exercises provided they do not exhaust you. Yoga and meditation are alternative ways to relax your mind off stress.
This disease was named ‘Myasthenia Gravis’ keeping in mind the grave nature of the muscle weakness it causes. Today, with drugs like Mestinon, most cases of this condition are not as grave and can be controlled successfully.