MULTIPLE SYSTEM ATROPHY (MSA)

Description

MSA is a rare neurological disorder that can impair your body’s involuntary functions, including heart rate, digestion, bladder function, and blood pressure

Symptoms

  • Urinary and bowel dysfunction
  • Sweating abnormalities
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Parkinsonian type:
  • Rigid muscles and difficulty bending your arms and legs
  • Bradykinesia
  • Tremors (rare in MSA compared with classic Parkinson’s disease)
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Cerebellar type:
  • Impairment of movement and coordination
  • Dysarthria
  • Visual disturbances
  • Dysphagia

Causes

  • Sporadically
  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental factors

Risk Factors

  • People with abnormal alpha-synuclein protein

Diagnostic Tests

  • Tilt table test
  • Tests to assess autonomic functions:
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • A sweat test to evaluate perspiration
  • Eye exam
  • Tests to assess your bladder and bowel function
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Nerve and muscular examination

Treatment

  • Bladder care
  • Steps to manage swallowing and breathing difficulties
  • Pace maker
  • Impotence drugs
  • Medications to raise blood pressure:
  • Corticosteroid fludrocortisone
  • Pyridostigmine (Mestinon)
  • Midodrine (Orvaten)
  • Medications to reduce Parkinson’s-like signs and symptoms:
  • Combined levodopa and carbidopa (Parcopa, Sinemet)

Lifestyle Management

  • Elevate the head of the bed
  • Dietary changes
  • Avoid getting too hot
  • Wear elastic support stockings up to waist
  • Take steps to raise blood pressure