Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare and progressive neurodegenerative disorder.
It impacts on multiple systems that control movement and autonomic function (the nervous system that controls involuntary action such as blood pressure and bladder control).
Although there’s currently no cure for MSA, a range of drugs, treatments and therapies are available to manage the symptoms.
The management of MSA is focused on optimizing quality of life, relieving symptoms and assisting patients with their activities of daily living (ADL).
MSA symptoms usually develop in the person’s 50’s to 60’s.
MSA affects differing parts of the brain, including the basal ganglia and cerebellum.
The changes in the basal ganglia, which is also affected in Parkinson’s disease (PD), cause the Parkinsonian movement changes. This is the most common form of MSA.
The changes in the cerebellum cause the incoordination of walking and limb movements (cerebellar ataxia). This form occurs in about 20% people with MSA.
MSA progresses faster than PD and does not respond as well to medications. The rate of progression varies greatly between people.