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Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is the collective name for a group of rare neurodegenerative disorders that affect your body’s movement and certain involuntary functions controlled by your nervous system, including blood pressure and breathing. As the condition progresses, movement becomes more difficult. You may eventually be unable to walk. The disorder can become life threatening if it causes severe heart or lung problems.
At Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California, we have a fellowship-trained movement disorder specialist, Ehsan Hadi, M.D., that can help diagnose and manage your symptoms of multiple system atrophy in the Sacramento region. Call 1.888.800.7688 to get a doctor referral today.
The cause of MSA is unknown. Most cases seem to occur randomly. One risk factor seems to be a variation in a gene that helps the body make a protein called alpha-synuclein. When this protein builds up in the nervous system, it prevents the nerves from working correctly. The buildup of this protein in the nervous system is also found in Parkinson’s disease, although in different types of cells. Currently, there is no cure for MSA.
People with MSA typically develop signs and symptoms of the condition in their 50s or 60s, although it can affect younger people, too. The first symptoms often resemble Parkinson’s disease, making it difficult for doctors to tell the difference between the two conditions. However, MSA tends to progress more quickly with more widespread effects on the body.
Symptoms of MSA that are similar to Parkinson’s disease include:
Unfortunately, MSA symptoms do not improve with anti-Parkinson medications. In fact, they may even worsen.
MSA symptoms related to problems with the autonomic nervous system can include:
Other symptoms of MSA include erectile dysfunction and sleep problems.
The experts at Dignity Health will create a personalized treatment plan that fits your unique case of MSA. We use the latest methods and techniques for your best possible care.
Our treatment options to address the symptoms of MSA include: