Discharge Instructions for Myasthenia Gravis - Fairview Health Services
 
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Discharge Instructions for Myasthenia Gravis

You have been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a disease that affects the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. This causes the muscles to become weak. The muscle weakness usually gets worse during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Here’s what you can do to help yourself feel better.

Activity

Try these tips to help you deal with your daily activities:

  • Remember, it’s normal to have times when you feel energetic and times when you feel exhausted. Daily changes in your energy level are common.

  • Plan your daily activities around the times when you feel more energetic. These periods are usually in the morning or after a nap. You may feel more tired at the end of the day.

  • Rest frequently throughout the day.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise. Short walks spread out through the day will keep you fit without exhausting you.

  • Do one thing at a time.

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready for appointments so you’re not rushed.

  • To save energy while getting dressed, lay out your clothes and accessories in one area where it’s easy for you to reach everything. Try to avoid making extra trips back and forth to your closet or dresser drawers.

  • Install grab bars in your shower or tub to make it easier to get in and out. A shower chair may also be helpful.

  • Strengthen your voice by reading aloud. Singing is also a good exercise.

  • Add a voice amplifier to your phone so that others can hear you better.

Medical care and support

  • Take your medication exactly as directed.

  • Use prescribed eyedrops for dry eyes. Dry eyes and other eye problems are common with myasthenia gravis.

  • Make regular follow-up appointments with your doctor.

  • Wear a medical identification bracelet that indicates you have myasthenia gravis.

  • Join a support group. Ask your doctor about groups in your area.

  • Do not start new medications without checking with your doctor.

Other precautions

  • Protect yourself from infection.

    • Wash your hands often; keep them away from your face. Most germs are spread by hand-to-mouth contact.

    • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor about a pneumonia vaccination.

    • Stay out of crowds, especially in the winter; that’s when more people have colds and the flu.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can increase weakness.

  • Make an appointment with a nutritionist (or dietitian). During extended times of weakness, you may need to change your diet to avoid choking. A nutritionist can help you plan for these times. Here are some tips that should help:

    • Eat soft foods, such as mashed potatoes or applesauce, to make swallowing easier.

    • Eat warm (not hot) foods.

    • Eat slowly. Cut your food into small pieces and chew it thoroughly before swallowing.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble swallowing, chewing, speaking, or breathing

  • Weakness in your face

  • Excessive sweating

  • Drooling

  • Dizziness or confusion

  • Extreme muscle weakness

  • Double vision or blurred vision

  • Abdominal pain or diarrhea

 

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