Shy-Drager syndrome basic information
Shy-Drager syndrome is a rather rare type of neurological disorder which is known for impairing the body’s autonomic or involuntary functions such as digestion, bladder function, heart rate and blood pressure. This medical condition is also sometimes referred to as multiple system atrophy. This medical condition is quite peculiar in that it also shares many symptoms such as poor balance, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement, with another medical condition called Parkinson’s disease. This disease is a degenerative type of disease and it commonly occurs in the 50s or 60s. It is a quite interesting fact that it affects men much more than it affects women. Its gradual progress eventually ends in death. There are two main types of multiple system atrophy which affects multiple parts of the human body. The first type is called parkinsonian multiple system atrophy while the other one is referred to as the cerebellar multiple system atrophy. The parkinsonian type is characterized by certain symptoms such as impaired balance, impaired posture, tremors, slow movement, difficulty bending the legs and arms, and rigid muscles. Cerebellar type is usually characterized by a lack of muscle coordination. Other common symptoms and signs include difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing, difficulty focusing the eyes, blurred vision, various visual disturbances, low volume speech, slow speech, slurred speech, loss of balance, unsteady gait, impaired coordination and impairment of movement. The primary sign of the multiple system atrophy is postural or orthostatic hypotension. This type of hypotension is associated with dizziness and lightheadedness and it may even lead to fainting. There are also certain other general signs and symptoms which may be associated with the Shy-Drager syndrome and those include a reduction in the production of saliva and tears, reduction of perspiration, loss of bowel control, loss of bladder control, loss of libido, impotence, abnormal breathing at night, agitate sleep, difficulty controlling emotions, irregular heartbeat, constipation, and an impaired control of body temperature. The brain changes associated with multiple system atrophy are caused by certain factors which are still largely unknown. This medical condition is also known for being associated with a number of further medical complications which usually occurs as the disorder slowly progresses. These complications may or may not include increased difficulty swallowing, vocal cord paralysis, loss of ability to care for oneself in day to day activities, progressive immobility associated to a large number of secondary problems, injuries from falls connected with fainting or impaired walking and breathing abnormalities during sleep. Those who start experiencing the symptoms of this medical condition usually live for six to ten years since their initiation. In most cases, death occurs due to different types of respiratory problems.
Diagnosis and treatment of Shy-Drager syndrome
If a person starts noticing any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms of the multiple system atrophy, it is of utmost importance to visit a doctor in order to evaluate them and diagnose the condition properly. Unfortunately, this medical condition cannot be cured. All treatment options that may be involved are only aimed at treating the signs and the symptoms so that the patient can feel as comfortable as possible. The treatment methods also emphasized the maintenance of proper body capabilities and functions. Among the most commonly used treatment methods are medications which are otherwise used for the treatment of low blood pressure. Those include fludrocortisones and pyridostigmine. These are very efficient in raising one’s blood pressure. There are other medicaments which can be used for the same purpose, such as midodrine. The Shy-Drager syndrome is sometimes treated by medications which are otherwise used for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease. Those usually involve combinations of carbidopa and levodopa and they are very efficient in the treatment of slowness of movement, balance problems and stiffness, among other common symptoms. These medications are not effective in all cases of the condition. One of the options commonly used in the treatment of multiple system atrophy is a pacemaker which is very efficient in keeping the blood pressure levels normal. Those who suffer from erectile dysfunction and impotence may be treated with different types of drugs such as sildenafil. Persons affected by multiple system atrophy need to make sure to take certain steps in order to manage their breathing difficulties and swallowing difficulties. Softer foods need to be eaten, and in some cases a breathing tube or a feeding tube needs to be inserted in a surgical manner. A gastronomy tube is usually required in the later stages of the disease. Also there are certain steps which need to be taken in order to provide optimal bladder care. Certain medications can be used for the maintenance of proper bladder control. Advanced stages of the condition require a permanent insertion of a catheter in order to drain thebladder.