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9 Signs That Filipinos May Have Myasthenia Gravis And What To Do About It

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Filipino Woman covering her droopy eyes with hand

Myasthenia Gravis is a rare neuromuscular disease that can cause muscle weakness and fatigue for Filipinos. It is caused by a decrease in the amount of Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain and spinal cord. Treatment typically includes medications and often involves rehabilitation. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that it is caused by the body’s attack on its own cells. There is no known cure for Myasthenia Gravis, but most Filipinos with the disease experience significant improvement with treatment.

In this article, we will discuss some of the signs of Myasthenia Gravis in the Philippines and what to do about it.

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What are the Signs & Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis?

Here are the 9 signs and symptoms that Filipinos should watch out for.

Muscle Weakness

Muscle Weakness of a Filipina shows symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness can also lead to falls and other accidents. The condition is caused by a reduced ability of the nerves to send messages from the brain to the muscles. Treatment often includes medications, breathing exercises, and physical therapy.

Difficulty Moving Your Jaw or Lips

A Filipino Woman Difficulty Moving Jaw or Lips
Difficulty Moving Your Jaw or Lips

Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness and difficulty moving your jaw or lips. This can make it difficult to speak, eat, drink, or breathe. It can be mild or severe and can cause problems anywhere from the neck down to the feet. Treatment depends on the severity of the Myasthenia Gravis and may include medication, physical therapy, and surgery.

Droopy Eyelids or Eyes That Do Not Move Like They Used To

A male Filipino patient with Droopy Eyelids or Eyes That Do Not Move
Droopy Eyelids or Eyes That Do Not Move Like They Used To

Myasthenia Gravis can cause droopy eyelids or eyes that do not move like they used to.

Difficulty Speaking Or Breathing

A femal Filipino having Difficulty Speaking Or Breathing with her hands on chest and head
Difficulty Speaking Or Breathing

This can be due to muscle weakness and may make it difficult for the person to do basic activities, such as eating or walking. Muscle weakness can also make it difficult to breathe, especially if there is an obstruction in the airway.

Neck Pain Myasthenia Gravis

Female woman in the Philippines has Neck Pain as sign of Myasthenia Gravis
Neck Pain

Neck pain due to Myasthenia Gravis is a common complaint. The pain can be localized to one side of the neck, or it can be generalized throughout the entire neck. The pain is often described as a tight, aching feeling. Myasthenia Gravis patients in the Philippines typically experience a difficulty in moving their neck and facial muscles, which can cause them significant difficulty speaking and eating. 


Female woman in the Philippines experiencing Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of Myasthenia Gravis. The Filipino patient may experience extreme fatigue, which can make it difficult to do basic activities. The fatigue may also cause the Filipino patient to feel weak and have difficulty breathing. 

Sensitivity To Light Or Noise

Filipino male is having a Sensitivity To Light Or Noise
Sensitivity To Light Or Noise

Sensitivity to light or noise is a common symptom of Myasthenia Gravis. The Filipino patient may experience difficulty seeing in bright light or hearing loud noises. The sensitivity may be localized to one side of the body, or it may be generalized throughout the body. The sensitivity may make it difficult for the person to do basic activities, such as walking or chewing food. 

Numbness or Tingling In The Hands or Feet

Filipina patient experiencing Numbness or Tingling In The Hands or Feet
Numbness or Tingling In The Hands or Feet

Myasthenia Gravis is a condition in which the muscle tissue becomes weak. This can cause a number of symptoms, including numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. If left untreated, it can lead to complete paralysis.

Trouble Walking Or Standing For Long Periods Of Time

Myasthenia gravis is a rare neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness and difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time. The disorder often begins with muscle weakness in the arms and legs, but can also affect other muscles in the body. It can be difficult to diagnose because it often goes unnoticed until symptoms begin to worsen. Treatment typically involves medications and rehabilitation therapy to help improve muscle strength and function.


How Can Myasthenia Gravis Be Diagnosed?

In addition to reviewing your medical history and symptoms, your doctor in the Philippines will also perform a physical assessment. Your physician might carry out a number of tests, such as:

1. Neurological Examination

Your Filipino doctor may do the following tests to examine your neurological condition:

  • Muscle Strength
  • Reflexes
  • Tone of Muscle
  • Tough and Sight Senses
  • Balance
  • Coordination

2. Blood Analysis & Tests

Unusual antibodies that interfere with the receptor sites where nerve impulses cause your muscles to contract may be detected by a blood test.

3. Ice Pack Test

A bag of ice may be placed on your eyelid by your Filipino doctor if it is drooping. Your doctor in the Philippines removes the bag and checks your droopy eyelid for signs of improvement after two minutes.

4. Repetitive Nerve Stimulation

Doctors in the Philippines place electrodes on your skin over the muscles that will be examined as part of this nerve conduction investigation. For the purpose of assessing the nerve’s capacity to communicate with your muscle, Filipino doctors administer brief electrical pulses through the electrodes.

Doctors in the Philippines will frequently test the nerve to check if its capacity to transmit impulses deteriorates with exhaustion in order to diagnose Myasthenia Gravis.

5. Imaging

To determine whether you have a tumor or another abnormality in your thymus, your Filipino doctor may prescribe a CT scan or an MRI.

6. Single-Fiber Electromyography (EMG)

The electrical transmission between your brain and your muscle is measured by this test. To test a single muscle fiber, you must pass a thin wire electrode through your skin and into the affected muscle.

7. Pulmonary Function Tests

These tests determine whether your respiration is affected by your condition.

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What Are The Treatment Options?

Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness. There are several treatment options available, including medication, physiotherapy, and surgery. Some Filipinos may require all three treatment options to improve their condition.

A. Medications

Here are the possible medications that your Filipino doctors may prescribe upon diagnosis.


Antibody formation is inhibited by corticosteroids like prednisone, which suppress the immune system. Corticosteroid use for an extended period of time, however, can have major adverse consequences, including bone thinning, weight gain, diabetes, and an increased risk of various infections.


Cholinesterase Inhibitors

Drugs like pyridostigmine improve the flow of information between the muscles and the nervous system. These drugs don’t treat anything, although in some persons they can increase the strength and contraction of the muscles.

Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and increased salivation and perspiration are just a few of the potential adverse effects.

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Other immune-altering drugs that your doctor in the Philippines might recommend include azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine, methotrexate, or tacrolimus. Corticosteroids may be used with these medications, which take months to take effect.

Immunosuppressant side effects can be severe and include an increased risk of infection as well as liver or renal damage.


B. Intravenous Therapy

Intravenous therapy (or (IV therapy) is a treatment option for MG that can help to improve muscle strength and reduce fatigue. IV therapy involves infusing medications, such as immunoglobulin (Ig), into the bloodstream. Immunoglobulin is a protein that helps to modulate the immune system and can help to improve muscle strength in people with MG. Here are the possible IV therapy for Filipinos with MG:


This technique employs a filtering method like dialysis. Your blood is pumped through a device that filters out the antibodies that prevent signals from traveling from your nerve endings to the receptor sites in your muscles. The positive results, however, often only last a few weeks, and repeated procedures can make it more challenging to reach veins for the treatment.

The risks of plasmapheresis include a reduction in blood pressure, hemorrhage, issues with heart rhythm, or cramping. Some persons experience an allergic reaction to the replacement plasma solutions.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin

Your immune system’s response is altered by this therapy, which gives your body normal antibodies. Benefits are often felt within a week and might last for three to six weeks.

Chills, lightheadedness, headaches, and fluid retention are just a few of the often minor side effects.

Monoclonal Antibody

Intravenous treatments for myasthenia gravis include rituximab and the more recently authorized eculizumab. Filipinos who don’t respond to alternative therapies typically utilize these medications. Serious adverse effects may result from them.

Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis  in the Philippines
Diagnosis and Treatment for MG

C. Surgery

A thymus gland tumor can occur in some myasthenia gravis patients in the Philippines. The thymus gland will be surgically removed if you have a thymoma tumor (thymectomy).

The thymus gland may be removed even if there isn’t a tumor there to help with Myasthenia Gravis symptoms. The advantages of thymectomy, however, may not manifest for several years.

Both open surgery and minimally invasive surgery are options for thymectomy procedures. The sternum, the primary breastbone, is split during open surgery to expose your chest and remove the thymus gland.

Less extensive incisions are made during thymus gland removal surgery:

  • Video-assisted thymectomy
  • Robot-assisted thymectomy

Home Remedies You Can Do

The following are the things you can do in order to maximize your energy and manage the effects of myasthenia gravis:

  • Take preventative measures at home.
  • Change your dietary habits
  • Utilize electrical equipment and power tools to complete tasks while maintaining energy.
  • Wear an Eye Patch 
  • Plan for most activities

For you and your loved ones, managing myasthenia gravis can be challenging. Find ways to relax because stress might make your illness worse. When assistance is required, ask for it.

Find out as much as you can about your illness, and educate your loved ones on it as well. A support group where you can connect with individuals who are familiar with your situation and that of your family members can be helpful for you all.

What Type of Doctors Treat Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness and fatigue. The main symptom of MG is muscle weakness that gets worse with activity and improves with rest.

There are two types of doctors in the Philippines that treat MG: family medicine or general practitioner medical doctors (MDs) and neurologists. MDs are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions. Neurologists are specialists who focus on the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

Both MDs and neurologists can diagnose MG. However, most Filipinos with MG see a neurologist for their care because MG is a neurological disease. Neurologists have special training in diagnosing and treating neurological diseases like MG.

3 Filipino doctors discussing treatments for MG
Neurologists or Family Medicine Doctors can treat MG

Conclusion for Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a condition in which the muscles become weak and can no longer contract. Filipinos with Myasthenia Gravis often experience muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, and difficulty breathing. The condition can be extremely debilitating and lead to complications such as falls, respiratory problems, and even heart failure. There are treatments available that can help Filipinos live full and productive lives. The prognosis for Filipinos with Myasthenia Gravis tends to improve over time if they receive appropriate care.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor in the Philippines for an appointment. 



This website is intended to educate both members of the general public and those working in the medical field on the prevalence, causes, and methods for preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases that affect people throughout their lives. This website’s content is provided solely for informational reasons and is not meant to serve as a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.

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Yvone Del Rio, RMT

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