What is MSA

Our goal is to bring awareness to this horrible disease and give a fighting chance to people diagnosed with MSA in the future

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare degenerative neurological disorder that targets the body’s involuntary functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, bladder function, and digestion. Formally known as Shy-Drager syndrome, MSA shares many symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, and poor balance.

Multiple System Atrophy develops later in adulthood (typically in the 50’s or 60’s) and tends to affect more men than women. Unlike Parkinson’s, MSA patients generally show minimal, if any, response to medications.

There is no known cause of MSA, although some theorize that environmental toxins may contribute to the disease. Studies of MSA patients indicate that deterioration, shrinkage, and atrophy of portions of the brain (cerebellum, basal ganglia, and brainstem) relate to failures of motor control, digestion, and other internal body functions. To get scientific, microscopic analysis of damaged brain tissue of people with MSA reveals neurons that contain an abnormal amount of a protein called alpa-synuclein.

Multiple System Atrophy progresses at different rates depending on the individual. That being said, it does not go into remission. MSA progresses daily, gradually making daily activities increasingly difficult.

The sad fact is that there is no cure. Management of the disease involves treating signs and symptoms to make you as comfortable as possible to maintain your daily bodily functions and capabilities. From symptom onset, people typically live 6 to 10 years. In some cases, people have lived 15 years or longer.

For more information regarding Multiple System Atrophy, check it out here.