Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension is a neurological disorder that was previously known as Shy-Drager syndrome. The progressive disorder of the central and autonomic nervous systems is characterized by orthostatic hypotension (an excessive drop in blood pressure when standing up) which causes dizziness or fainting. The symptoms of the multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension are generalized weakness, vision disturbances, difficulty swallowing, sleep disturbances and decreased sweating.
The condition is classified into 3 types. The Parkinsonian-type has the symptoms similar to that of Parkinson's disease (such as slow movement, stiff muscles, and tremor). The cerebellar-type cause problems with coordination and speech while the combined-type, has the symptoms of both parkinsonism and cerebellar failure. The complications associated with the combined type are urinary incontinence, constipation and sexual impotence in men.
As of now, there is no treatment for multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension. The treatment is symptomatic. Anti-Parkinson medication such as Sinemet may improve the general sense of well-being. Medications to elevate blood pressure while standing are often used, but may cause high blood pressure when lying down. Individuals should sleep with the head of the bed elevated. An artificial feeding tube or breathing tube may be required for problems with swallowing and breathing.
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