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How can you tell the difference between Myasthenia Gravis and M.E.?

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by Tulip, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Especially when you already have M.E.? :confused:
     
  2. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    I don't really know... MG is diagnosed with acetycholine antibody test, but I think something like this could be linked to ME as well (low acetycholine is reported, at least). I'm not sure if some ME/CFS patients are (perhaps atypical) MG which has been missed, or if there is a similar disease process.

    I would very much like to know the answer to this as well.
     
  3. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Tulip.

    In myasthenia gravis there is an autoimmune attack on the acetylcholine receptors, which interferes with the signalling from the nervous system to the muscle cells to contract the muscles. Treatment for myasthenia gravis includes use of cholinesterase inhibitors, which lower the rate of breakdown of acetylcholine, so that there is more acetylcholine to stimulate the remaining receptors. This works for a while, but the damage mechanism continues to decrease the number of acetylcholine receptors, so the disease is progressive.

    In ME/CFS, though it has been suggested that choline is elevated, and hence that acetylcholine is not likely lower than normal, I believe that this was based on a misinterpretation of the magnetic resonance spectroscopy data, and that acetylcholine is indeed low in ME/CFS, as WillowJ has noted. There is a published paper in which pyridostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor, was found to be beneficial in ME/CFS. There is another study of a different cholinesterase inhibitor, which was found not to help. I don't know why.

    So in a sense, these two conditions are similar in this respect: Either low acetylcholine or low acetylcholine receptors will interfere with the neuromuscular stimulation, and a cholinesterase inhibitor should counter either of them.

    My impression is that the damage mechanism continues in myasthenia gravis until the muscles will no longer get the signal to contract. This starts to show up in the eyelids, which droop (called ptosis), and then it spreads to other muscles. I don't think the results of low acetylcholine in ME/CFS are progressive. I haven't heard of ptosis developing in ME/CFS.

    By the way, a good friend of mine had myasthenia gravis, and I can testify that it was corrected by Rife therapy, because I saw him before the treatment as well as afterward, on a regular basis. He stopped his medication, which had included both a cholinesterase inhibitor and an immune suppressant after he had received the Rife treatment, and the ptosis resolved and did not come back. Unfortunately, the FDA shut down the people who were doing the Rife therapy. I'm not making this up.

    Best regards,

    Rich
     
  4. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Thanks for the replies,

    I really think that myasthenia gravis is yet another condition that "pops up" down the road with M.E. once you have been sick for a while. I have had the slightly drooping eyelid since 1999 and it's getting worse. I have another family member who has had M.E. for over 20 yrs and has recently been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. I am off to the rheumatologist next week to get checked out as my doctor thinks that's most likely what I have to. I have had heaps of trouble walking to, but it just feels like a bad weak muscle day with M.E..

    Maybe all true M.E. sufferers have mild myasthenia gravis early on but it goes undiagnosed until it gets really bad??.
     
  5. pamb

    pamb Senior Member

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    My ME/CFS husband has had the drooping eyelids on bad days from the beginning ten years ago. Looking at his eye lids is the quickest way for me to know what kind of a day he is having. He just keeps getting weaker, despite trying to exercise as much as he can (usually a bit too much) so MG is an interesting thought. I'm for waiting until some of the amazing new research is sorted out. Interestingly, a friend just recommended Rife.
     
  6. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    pamb, it might be a good idea to get him tested for myasthenia gravis, because it's not an illness that can be left untreated once it's noticable.
     
  7. rlc

    rlc Senior Member

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    Hi Tuliip, information on testing for MG and a lot of other information about it can be found here http://www.medicinenet.com/myasthenia_gravis/page3.htm would be a good idea to get it tested for because there are treatment available if you do have it.

    All the best
     
  8. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    I don't get a droopy eye, but I do get a stiff face on bad days.
     
  9. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Thanks RLC, my doctor already knows the process of how to diagnose now as the other family member sees them as well - took her a while though!.

    What worries me is the meds for MG seem to be to suppress the immune system, which is the opposite of what I need for M.E.
     
  10. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    I have mild ptosis, particularly the upper eyelids, which sag badly, such that I now have an epicanthal fold over the corner of my left eye. My eyes/eyelids are the most painful part of my body (the second worst being RSI pain of the arms/hands).

    I started a thread a good while back and there were a few people who reported similar things, or ptosis.
     

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