MSA Trust

How does someone find out they have MSA?

Who does someone need to see to get a diagnosis?

Often a person with MSA has had problems such as being tired, clumsy or falling over, for some time.

When these problems don’t go away or get worse they may see their doctor (GP). As MSA is rare the GP may never have seen someone with MSA before, but over time they will often see a pattern of problems. The GP will then ask a neurologist or movement disorder doctor to see the person.

Neurologists and movement disorder doctors are specialist doctors who are familiar with the problems caused by brain cell damage.

Are there tests that can be done?

The specialist doctor will organise blood tests, brain scans and possibly other special neurological tests. The tests look for more common conditions that can affect the brain. When someone has MSA these tests often show no changes or just slight changes. Sometimes the brain scan can show damage in one or all of the three areas that get damaged by MSA.

There are no tests to tell us definitely when someone has MSA. The specialist has to listen to what the person can tell them has been happening and also physically test their movement and watch the person move and speak. There are many conditions that can cause similar difficulties so sometimes it can take a few visits to the specialist before they can say that the person has MSA.