MSA Trust

What is Multiple System Atrophy?

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a condition that affects the brain. A protein in the brain, called alphasynuclein, becomes faulty and causes the MSA damage. When someone has MSA most of the damage happens to the brain cells in three main areas in the brain. We look more at these three areas here.

There are areas in the brain that are important for helping us move and speak. MSA damages the brain cells in these movement and speaking areas.

When the brain cells in the movement areas of the brain are damaged, movement becomes difficult, slower, stiff, clumsy and poorly co-ordinated.

MSA damage to the brain cells at the back of the brain also makes speech, balance and doing fiddly things, difficult (like tying shoe laces and doing up zips).

The MSA damage can also make someone with MSA feel very tired a lot of the time, have difficulty concentrating and have problems going to the toilet.

Everyone who is diagnosed with MSA will be affected differently.

The amount and speed of damage in each brain area affected by MSA will be different in each person. MSA can be life-shortening, but how long someone lives with MSA varies, depending on how they are affected. That are lots of people that can support someone with MSA and you might like to read more about them here.