Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) With Low Blood Pressure May Be a Sign of Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension (nOH)

MSA is a rare neurological disorder that causes problems with movement, coordination, and involuntary body functions, such as blood pressure control. MSA, previously called Shy-Drager syndrome, results from ongoing damage to several areas of the nervous system.

MSA and nOH

MSA affects both men and women and is typically first seen in people in their 60s. MSA has similarities to Parkinson’s disease, but MSA progresses faster than Parkinson’s disease and has additional symptoms. Part of the way MSA affects the brain is that it disrupts the autonomic nervous system, which regulates such things as blood pressure. This characteristic can lead a patient with MSA to develop nOH, which is a manageable condition. Patients with MSA may commonly have nOH as an early part of their disease, yet it can go undiagnosed.

Get more MSA information and support at 

The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition.

Is nOH Playing a Role?

If you have MSA, it may be time to ask your doctor,“Do I have neurogenic orthostatic hypotension?”

Finding Options

Don’t settle for a life in which symptoms hold you back. Learn ways to better manage neurogenic orthostatic hypotension.

Multiple system atrophy

A rare, Parkinson's-like neurological disorder that causes problems with movement, loss of coordination, and malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

Autonomic dysfunction

Also known as dysautonomia. A term referring to conditions in which the autonomic nervous system does not function properly

Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency

A rare disease that affects the autonomic nervous system. DBH is present at birth, but is not typically diagnosed until late childhood, and nearly all patients with DBH will have severe OH by their early adult years.

Autonomic nervous system

One part of the nervous system that helps regulate the many functions in the body that aren’t consciously controlled, including heart rate and blood pressure

Blood pressure

The force the blood has on the arteries. It has two numbers: top/bottom (systolic/diastolic)

Dementia with Lewy bodies

the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms include progressive dementia; trouble remembering, learning, concentrating, or making decisions; visual hallucinations; and parkinsonism movement issues like tremor, impaired speech, or muscle stiffness.

Hypotension

Abnormally low blood pressure

Idiopathic

Arising from an unknown cause

Neurogenic

Associated with the nervous system

Parkinson’s disease

A nervous system disorder associated with damage to nerve cells in the brain and nerves that control movement and cause malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

Pure autonomic failure

A very rare, neurological disorder characterized by damage to regions of the nervous system that control involuntary functions (such as blood pressure control)

Norepinephrine

A neurotransmitter that functions to mobilize the brain and body for action

Orthostatic

Relating to standing up

MSA

A rare, Parkinson's-like neurological disorder that causes problems with movement, loss of coordination, and malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

PAF

A very rare, neurological disorder characterized by damage to regions of the nervous system that control involuntary functions (such as blood pressure control)

Autonomic dysfunction

Also known as dysautonomia. A term referring to conditions in which the autonomic nervous system does not function properly