The rate of progression of multiple system atrophy varies from person to person, but the condition does not go into remission. As the disorder progresses, daily activities become increasingly difficult.

You may experience the following complications:

  • Breathing abnormalities during sleep
  • Injuries from falls associated with impaired walking or fainting
  • Progressive immobility that can lead to secondary problems such as a breakdown of your skin
  • Loss of ability to care for yourself in day-to-day activities (from bathing to brushing teeth)
  • Vocal cord paralysis, which makes speech and breathing difficult
  • Increased difficulty swallowing

People typically live about six to 10 years after multiple system atrophy symptoms first appear, although some people with this condition have lived 15 years or longer. Death is often due to respiratory problems.

Jul. 02, 2011