Unleash Your Inner Warrior Conquering Myasthenia Gravis Triggers

Conquering Myasthenia Gravis Triggers A Guide to Defeating Them

5 Major Triggers of Myasthenia Gravis (MG) and How to Manage Them

By Bob Averack, as told to Hope Cristol

I became an advocate for myasthenia gravis (MG) the hard way. I was diagnosed in 2006, back when social media wasn’t buzzing with health information like it does today. So, I went through a lot of trial and error when it came to managing MG. It felt like getting hit on the head with a 2×4 every time I came up against a trigger. I’m a strong dude who didn’t want MG to dictate how I’d live my life. But MG said to me, “Oh yeah? Well, I’m stronger than you.”

The moment when the light bulb finally went on for good was when I experienced a myasthenic crisis and ended up in the Cleveland Clinic while on a trip to Florida. After 6 days in the ICU, I finally realized I needed to work with MG instead of fighting it.

I’m now a co-administrator of a Facebook group focused on healthy eating for MG. I’m still one of Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America’s (MGFA) go-to people for talking to individuals about the disease. Some of the things I talk about, besides the basic medical stuff, are common MG triggers and how to manage them. These are five of the big ones.

1) Extreme temperatures: The summer predicament! ☀️

Down here in Florida, where I reside, extreme temperatures mean heat and humidity. Standing for a few hours in this weather can knock the stuffing out of you. It’s like being in a boxing match with Mr. Heatstroke, and trust me, he’s undefeated. However, you don’t always have to let him win. You can still enjoy beachside retirement parties, nature-based volunteer work, or political and community activism without completely draining yourself. Here’s what you can do to minimize the impact:

  • Stay well hydrated. Drink up, my friend! H2O is your secret weapon against dehydration and fatigue.
  • Find ways to get cool during and after the event. Chill like a cucumber!
  • Get plenty of rest the night before. When in doubt, prioritize napping. It’s a great excuse to snuggle up like a cat and recharge those batteries.
  • Manage others’ expectations after the event. Let them know you may need some time off to recover. Your superpower needs a recharge!

2) Lack of sleep: The enemy of energy ⏰

Imagine this: a sleep-deprived superhero stumbling around like a toddler learning to walk, with blurry vision and the strength of a soggy noodle. That’s me when I don’t get enough sleep. Lack of adequate sleep is a major trigger for extreme bodywide fatigue. It’s as though every cell in your body is throwing a massive protest party against you. The impact is profound. So, consider sleep as your secret weapon against MG. It’s not just about feeling refreshed, it’s about cellular regeneration that will leave you feeling like a superstar the next day.

3) Excess weight: Lighten the load! 💪

Excess weight is like carrying a backpack filled with boulders while running a marathon. It only adds to the unbearable fatigue. I know firsthand how important weight management is in improving MG symptoms. I had my fair share of weight challenges, especially after my myasthenic crisis, when I gained 75 pounds in just 9 months. It was like living in the body of the Michelin Man, but with less tire-rolling talent. Losing that weight was life-changing.

So, clean up your plate and say goodbye to highly processed foods and red meat. Embrace a vegetarian lifestyle and feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders (or hips!). Trust me, you’ll feel like a spring chicken again.

4) A lousy diet: Let’s play with your food! 🍔

Have you ever experienced eating something that made you feel like you just wrestled a grizzly bear? Well, if you have MG, certain foods can trigger fatigue like you’ve just run a marathon. It’s like your immune system is throwing a temper tantrum after every bite. So, what’s the solution? Change your game plan!

Instead of lecturing people about health risks, let them discover the wonders of alternative foods. “Have you ever had the Impossible Burger? You’d be amazed at how much it tastes and feels like the real thing!” Using the power of persuasion, you can win them over to the delicious and healthier side of the plate.

5) Stress: The silent assassin 💣

Stress is a sneaky villain that plays a role in triggering MG. It’s like a bull in a china shop, causing chaos and disrupting the delicate balance within your body. One stressful conversation, and suddenly your ability to speak and swallow becomes as elusive as a chameleon. Stress not only weakens your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to pesky colds, but it also aggravates MG symptoms. Talk about adding insult to injury!

While we can’t eliminate stress, we can limit its impact on MG. Meditate, practice yoga, or take a calm walk in the park. If physical activity isn’t possible, let the merry voices of children at play, soothing music, or captivating audiobooks transport you away from the worries. Remember, you may have MG, but you have more control over your symptoms than you may realize.

Now that you know the five major triggers of MG, it’s time to take charge! Don your superhero cape, make wise choices, and show MG who’s the boss. Together, we can reclaim our lives and confidently face any challenge that comes our way!

Have you experienced any of these triggers? What strategies have you found helpful in managing them? Share your tips and stories in the comments below! Let’s support and inspire each other on this MG journey.