What Foods Should I Eat & Avoid With Myasthenia Gravis?
Food plays an important role in the management of myasthenia gravis. Thus, the food that improves the symptoms should be incorporated in the diet.
What Foods Should I Eat With Myasthenia Gravis?
Dietary habits are important in the management of myasthenia gravis. Following are the eating followed by the patients:
Eating Frequent Short Meals- Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in myasthenia gravis. Thus the patient should conserve his energy. One way to conserve energy is to eat short meals at frequent intervals. (1)
Eating At A Particular Angle- The muscles of the throat become weak leading to the swallowing difficulty in the patient. The patient should identify which angle is suitable and comfortable in eating without any or with very less difficulty.
Making A Paste Of Solid Food- In order to reduce the inconvenience of swallowing, the solid food should be made soft by filing them into a liquid such as sauce. (2)
Following foods helps in maintaining the symptoms of myasthenia gravis and can be incorporated in the diet as an adjuvant to main therapy:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Pasteurized milk
- Raw and dried fruits
- Powdered nutritional supplements
- Peanut butter
What Foods Should I Avoid With Myasthenia Gravis?
Some foods aggravate the intensity of the myasthenia gravis symptoms; thus these foods should be avoided. Following are the foods to be avoided in myasthenia gravis:
- Roasted nuts
- The mold containing cheese such as Roquefort
- Undercooked eggs
- Bread products such as muffins and sandwiches
- Dry foods such as rice, popcorn or chips.
- Avoid tougher meats
Avoid food that requires a lot of chewing as it may lead to pain in jaw muscles.
Various techniques are used for the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis. The diagnosis includes physical evaluation, blood tests as well as imaging techniques. The diagnosis techniques are used to diagnose the presence and severity of the disease. Following are the diagnostic techniques used:
Neurological Evaluation- Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder. Thus, the neurological evaluation of the muscles is conducted to analyze the reflex as well as the strength of the muscles. Muscle tone, balance, and coordination are also evaluated through neuromuscular examination. The condition can also be examined by physically evaluating the symptoms such as drooping eyelids and difficulty in swallowing and speaking. (3)
Laboratory Tests- Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease and the condition is characterized by the presence of antibodies in the blood. However, in some cases, no antibodies are found. The diagnosis of such form of myasthenia gravis is difficult. Presence of anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody (Ab) is in almost 90% of the patients. However, this number decreases in case of pure ocular myasthenia gravis. The anti–striated muscle (anti-SM) antibody is a presence in most cases of thymoma and the risk of thymoma increases if the patient is below 40 years. Other antibodies to be checked in patients of myasthenia gravis are Anti-lipoprotein-related protein 4 (LRP4) antibody, Anti-MuSK antibody, and Anti-agrin antibody.
Electroconductivity Test- Various electroconductivity tests are performed to analyze the health of the nervous system. Generally, two types of tests are more common. Repetitive nerve stimulation (RNS) is done to measure the conductivity of the nerves while Single-fiber electromyography (EMG) is performed to identify and evaluate the neuromuscular block.
Edrophonium test- Edrophonium test is based on the concept that if a drug for myasthenia gravis is administered, the patient experiences a sudden increase in muscular strength. Thus, if the administration of edrophonium increases muscle strength, the patient may suffer from myasthenia gravis.
Ice-pack test- This test is based on the rationale that ice packs improve the neuromuscular transmission. In this test, the doctors place an ice pack on the eyes of the patient for a few minutes and then analyze the improvement in muscular function.
Food such as banana, papaya, tomato, cereals, and peanut butter should be taken in the diet while tough meat, dry food such as rice and undercooked eggs should be avoided.