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What Is Multiple System Atrophy With Orthostatic Hypotension?

MSA is the abbreviated form of multiple system atrophy and it is a degenerative and rare type of neurological disorder affecting various autonomic or involuntary functions of your body. These include your breathing, blood pressure, muscle control and bladder functions. Besides this, you will find a few symptoms associated with multiple system atrophy resembling with the symptoms found in case of Parkinson’s disease. These include rigid muscles, slow body movement and poor balance.

What Is Multiple System Atrophy With Orthostatic Hypotension?

Multiple system atrophy in combination with orthostatic hypotension is the present classification of a progressive neurological disorder, which affects one’s autonomic nervous systems and central nervous systems. The problem characterizes excessive drop in the blood pressure whenever a person stands up and further causes fainting and/or dizziness. 1

Signs And Symptoms Of Multiple System Atrophy Combined With Orthostatic Hypotension

Even though a few of signs and symptoms associated with multiple system atrophy and orthostatic hypotension and multiple system atrophy only are common, in case of orthostatic hypotension, you will experience more complications and additional problems, as we have discussed here.

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dimming vision or vision loss in some cases
  • Severe pain in your shoulders, neck and head areas
  • Alteration in the mentation procedure
  • Physical weakness, especially in the arms and legs
  • Slurred speed
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Yawning almost every time

How Doctors Diagnose And Identify Orthostatic Hypotension With Multiple System Atrophy?

Patients suffer from orthostatic hypotension in combination with multiple system atrophy when they suffer reduction in the systolic blood pressure i.e. almost less than or equal to 20 mmHg. Alternatively, doctors diagnose OH problem based on diastolic blood pressure reading of patients. Accordingly, patients suffering from the combination of multiple system atrophy and OH show DBP i.e. diastolic blood pressure of less than or equal to 10 mmHg within only 3 minutes of head-up and in tilting to 60-degree angle or in standing position. Along with this, multiple system atrophy patients have reported relatively higher pronounced reduction i.e. less than or equal to 30 mmHg in case of systolic blood pressure and less than or equal to 15 mmHg in case of diastolic blood pressure.2

Treatment Objectives For Multiple System Atrophy With Orthostatic Hypotension

Unfortunately, if any patient suffers from orthostatic hypotension in combination with multiple system atrophy, doctors cannot cure him/her completely. Instead, treatment options in this case aim to control various symptoms. Accordingly, doctors recommend for the following types of medication options to patients.3

Anti-Parkinson Medications

Anti-Parkinson medications improve general sense of health and well-being in patients.

Medications To Manage Blood Pressure

Doctors recommend for specific medications to elevate the blood pressure levels while patients stay in standing position. However, such medicines may result in high blood pressure when individuals remain in lying down position. Hence, patients have to sleep with their heads in elevated form.

Breathing Or Feeding Tube

Depending on problems related to swallowing of food items or breathing shortness, doctors may use artificial breathing or feeding tube.


  1. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/multiple-system-atrophy-orthostatic-hypotension-information-page
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751507/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3200496/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 13, 2019

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