March 2020: Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month

WHEREAS, multiple system atrophy is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by the 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 5 in 100,000 people are affected by the disease; and


WHEREAS, people typically live 7 to 10 years after symptoms first appear; and,


WHEREAS, there is currently no cure for multiple system atrophy; 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 2020 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.