Why we care ….
Park & Associates has chosen the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition (MSA) as our charity. This cause is really close to our hearts as our loving founder, Kara Park, has been diagnosed with this rare and terminal neurodegenerative disorder. We are raising awareness of MSA so we can help improve early diagnosis, encourage policymakers to increase access to services and fund research into MSA, as well as reduce the feelings of isolation faced by patients and caregivers.
If you feel compelled to join us in this cause, please click on our Park & Associates team page for donations https://support.multiplesystematrophy.org/team/416082
March is Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month that provides the opportunity to educate the world about this rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Please join us to #Shine a Light on MSA.
Below is a brief video to learn more about this neurodegenerative disorder.
What is Multiple System Atrophy?
Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that can cause a multitude of symptoms in any combination including impairments to balance, difficulty with movement, poor coordination, bladder dysfunction, sleep disturbances and poor blood pressure control. The disease was first known as Shy-Drager Syndrome. Currently, it is believed that MSA is “sporadic,” meaning that there are no established genetic or environmental factors that cause the disease. A few reports have described families with MSA, but this finding is probably very rare.
What are the symptoms of MSA?
Most often, the first clinical symptom a patient will note will be lightheadedness, dizziness, and episodes of passing out, but the first symptoms in some patients may include difficulty initiating movement, body stiffness, urinary incontinence, and increased falls. The autonomic nervous system is essential for controlling blood pressure, body temperature, digestion, urination, and sexual function, so MSA is largely a disease that impairs the autonomic nervous system. However, some patients don’t seem to have severe autonomic symptoms, thus emphasizing the range of symptoms from person to person.
The difference between MSA and Parkinson’s Disease
Although many clinical symptoms are also present in those with Parkinson’s disease, patients with MSA typically show symptom onset at a younger age, with the average onset in the early 50s. The journey to a diagnosis can be long and difficult. Many patients are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease first, but over time, the extent, severity, and type of symptoms change, making a diagnosis of MSA more likely.
One of the most important symptoms in MSA patients is the presence of sleeping abnormalities such as snoring and apnea, stridor, and acting out dreams. Also, subtle changes to a person’s speech such as low pitch or quivering voice can also be evident and the clinician may notice symptoms that look slightly different from those of Parkinson’s disease. The diagnosis of MSA is made clinically, and neuroimaging can sometimes assist with confirmation of a clinical suspicion.
You can learn more about MSA Coalition at https://www.multiplesystematrophy.org/