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Multiple System Atrophy

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a neuro-degenerative disease, which means the deterioration of certain nerve cells causes them to function abnormally, eventually leading to death. It is marked by a combination of symptoms affecting movement, blood pressure and other functions. The condition causes widespread damage to the brain and nervous system, which consists of sensory and motor nerve cells, that run between the central nervous system and internal organs such as the heart and lungs.

It is responsible for monitoring conditions within the body and bringing about appropriate changes in them. There is no known cure, but some symptoms, like a drop in blood pressure, bladder irritability and tremors can be controlled with medication. The condition is unlikely to be hereditary, it usually affects both men and women aged 50 and above.

The Range Of Symptoms Includes

  • Dizziness or fainting when getting up or after standing still
  • Impotence
  • Loss of ability to perspire in any part of the body
  • Loss of control of bowels or bladder
  • Vision changes such as decreased or blurred vision
  • Muscle is rigidity. The patient finds it difficult to bend his arms or legs
  • Posture difficulties: The patient finds it difficult to begin walking pattern and shuffling of feet
  • Slow movements: the patient finds it difficult to begin walking or to initiate any voluntary movement. Small steps are followed by the need to run to maintain balance. He may also be unable to resume movement once the movement is stopped
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Tremors: They may be present in varying degrees or not at all, and may occur anytime. They may also become severe, enough to interfere with activities, and may be worse when the patient is tired, excited or stressed
  • There may be finger-thumb-rubbing, which may occur with an action such as holding a cup or forks and spoons
  • Changes in facial expression: The patient may stare, be unable to close his mouth and find it hard to show facial expressions
  • Voice and speech changes: The patient may speak slowly and softly in monotone or have difficult speaking altogether
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing occasionally
  • Loss of fine motor skills: The patients writing may be small and illegible. For some, writing may be impossible
  • Frequent falls
  • A mild decline in intellectual function may also occur

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