March 2019: Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month

WHEREAS, multiple system atrophy is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by degeneration or atrophy of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which can result in motor impairments, limited mobility, and/or loss of muscle coordination; and,

WHEREAS, the symptoms of this rapidly advancing disease can occur in any combination, from loss of balance and coordination, tremors or stiffness, fainting due to low blood pressure, swallowing difficulties, loss of bladder control, and involuntary, uncontrollable sighing or gasping; and,

WHEREAS, Signs and symptoms of multiple system atrophy may be similar to those seen in Parkinson's Disease and  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); and,

WHEREAS, multiple system atrophy generally affects middle-aged men and women, advances rapidly with the progressive loss of motor skills, and eventually leads to bed confinement; and,

WHEREAS, recent research suggests that up to five per 100,000 people are affected by the disease; and,

WHEREAS, people rarely live past 10 years with multiple system atrophy; and,

WHEREAS, there are no treatments to slow disease progression  and currently no cure; and,

WHEREAS, the current lack of awareness of multiple system atrophy leads to misdiagnosis and mistreatment;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 2019 as Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month in Michigan and urge increased public awareness of this progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the autonomic functions of the body.