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Myasthenia Gravis

Lifespan without treatment

11/12/2009

Question:

My husband is 61 years old with progressive weakening, drooling, slurred speech. He refuses to go to a doctor. HIs cousin has diagnosed MG when seeing him a family reunion. what kind of lifespan we he have with no treatment?

Answer:

Most people with myasthenia gravis have a normal lifespan. Some people with myasthenia gravis have certain symptoms that can have an impact on their lifespan. These include difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath. Difficulty swallowing can cause aspiration of food or fluids into the lungs resulting in pneumonia. People who have shortness of breath have difficulty breathing and coughing. Difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath put individuals at risk for infections, hospitalizations, and even the need for a breathing machine. In many instances, these symptoms can be prevented or controlled with treatment. I encourage your husband to be evaluated by a physician to determine what is causing his symptoms so he can be treated appropriately.

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Response by:

Catherine  Kernich, MSN, RN, CNP Catherine Kernich, MSN, RN, CNP
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University