Shy-Drager syndrome basic information
Shy-Drager syndrome is a rather rare type of neurologicaldisorder which is known for impairing the body’s autonomic or involuntary functionssuch as digestion, bladder function, heart rate and blood pressure. Thismedical condition is also sometimes referred to as multiple system atrophy. Thismedical condition is quite peculiar in that it also shares many symptoms suchas poor balance, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement, with another medicalcondition called Parkinson’s disease. This disease is a degenerative type ofdisease and it commonly occurs in the 50s or 60s. It is a quite interestingfact that it affects men much more than it affects women. Its gradual progresseventually ends in death. There are two main types of multiple system atrophywhich affects multiple parts of the human body. The first type is calledparkinsonian multiple system atrophy while the other one is referred to as thecerebellar multiple system atrophy. The parkinsonian type is characterized bycertain symptoms such as impaired balance, impaired posture, tremors, slowmovement, difficulty bending the legs and arms, and rigid muscles. Cerebellartype is usually characterized by a lack of muscle coordination. Other commonsymptoms and signs include difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing,difficulty focusing the eyes, blurred vision, various visual disturbances, lowvolume speech, slow speech, slurred speech, loss of balance, unsteady gait,impaired coordination and impairment of movement. The primary sign of the multiple systematrophy is postural or orthostatic hypotension. This type of hypotension is associatedwith dizziness and lightheadedness and it may even lead to fainting. There arealso certain other general signs and symptoms which may be associated with theShy-Drager syndrome and those include a reduction in the production of salivaand tears, reduction of perspiration, loss of bowel control, loss of bladdercontrol, loss of libido, impotence, abnormal breathing at night, agitate sleep,difficulty controlling emotions, irregular heartbeat, constipation, and animpaired control of body temperature. The brain changes associated withmultiple system atrophy are caused by certain factors which are still largelyunknown. This medical condition is also known for being associated with anumber of further medical complications which usually occurs as the disorderslowly progresses. These complications may or may not include increaseddifficulty swallowing, vocal cord paralysis, loss of ability to care for oneselfin day to day activities, progressive immobility associated to a large numberof secondary problems, injuries from falls connected with fainting or impairedwalking and breathing abnormalities during sleep. Those who start experiencingthe symptoms of this medical condition usually live for six to ten years sincetheir initiation. In most cases, death occurs due to different types ofrespiratory problems.
Diagnosis and treatment of Shy-Drager syndrome
If a person starts noticing any of the aforementioned signsand symptoms of the multiple system atrophy, it is of utmost importance tovisit a doctor in order to evaluate them and diagnose the condition properly.Unfortunately, this medical condition cannot be cured. All treatment optionsthat may be involved are only aimed at treating the signs and the symptoms sothat the patient can feel as comfortable as possible. The treatment methodsalso emphasized the maintenance of proper body capabilities and functions.Among the most commonly used treatment methods are medications which are otherwiseused for the treatment of low blood pressure. Those include fludrocortisones andpyridostigmine. These are very efficient in raising one’s blood pressure. Thereare other medicaments which can be used for the same purpose, such asmidodrine. The Shy-Drager syndrome is sometimes treated by medications whichare otherwise used for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of the Parkinson’sdisease. Those usually involve combinations of carbidopa and levodopa and theyare very efficient in the treatment of slowness of movement, balance problemsand stiffness, among other common symptoms. These medications are not effectivein all cases of the condition. One of the options commonly used in thetreatment of multiple system atrophy is a pacemaker which is very efficient inkeeping the blood pressure levels normal. Those who suffer from erectile dysfunctionand impotence may be treated with different types of drugs such as sildenafil.Persons affected by multiple system atrophy need to make sure to take certainsteps in order to manage their breathing difficulties and swallowingdifficulties. Softer foods need to be eaten, and in some cases a breathing tubeor a feeding tube needs to be inserted in a surgical manner. A gastronomy tubeis usually required in the later stages of the disease. Also there are certainsteps which need to be taken in order to provide optimal bladder care. Certain medicationscan be used for the maintenance of proper bladder control. Advanced stages ofthe condition require a permanent insertion of a catheter in order to drain thebladder.