Gender differences in quality of life among patients with myasthenia gravis in China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Health and Quality of Life Outcomes








China; Gender differences; Health-related quality of life; Myasthenia gravis


Background: Myasthenia gravis (MG), a chronic neuromuscular disorder, can adversely affect patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL), especially in women. The study aimed to evaluate the difference in HRQoL of women and men MG patients and explore the factors that mediate the relationship between gender and HRQoL. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1815 patients with MG in China. The revised 15-item MG quality of life scale (MG-QOL15r) was used to access patients' HRQoL in overall, physical, social and emotional domains. Socio-demographic information, diagnosis and treatment history, comorbidities, social support, active lifestyle and the MG activities of daily living scale (MG-ADL) were recorded and compared between women and men using the Student's t-test and Pearson's Chi-square test. Multivariable regression analyses were conducted to identify independent contributors to HRQoL, especially those affecting different gender. Results: On average, female patients with MG reported a lower MG-QOL15r score than the males (44.49 ± 29.10 vs 49.32 ± 29.18). The association between gender and patients' HRQoL interacted with the number of comorbidities across the overall, physical and social domains of patients. As the number of comorbidities increased, the scores of HRQoL decreased and it was faster among females than the males (p < 0.05). Moreover, unemployment, exacerbation of the disease, and active lifestyle contributed to the patients' HRQoL across all domains. Unemployment (β = - 4.99 [95%CI, - 7.80 to - 2.18], p < 0.001) and exacerbations (β = - 8.49 [95%CI, - 11.43 to - 5.54], p < 0.001) were correlated with poorer HRQoL; while an active lifestyle had a positive impact on HRQoL (β = 0.28 [95%CI, 0.16 to 0.40], p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results indicate that the HRQoL of women MG patients was lower than that of men. The relationship between gender and HRQoL is modulated by the number of comorbidities. Thus, to improve the HRQoL of women MG patients, symptomatic treatments might not be enough, their comorbid conditions should be considered as well. Additionally, employment status, MG exacerbations, and an active lifestyle have been found as determining factors of the patients' HRQoL, which suggests future interventions should cope with these factors to improve their quality of life.