Today, October 3rd, is World MSA Day.
MSA stands for multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, it is included in a group of diseases called “Parkinson-plus syndromes,” which have the classical symptoms of Parkinson’s (such as tremor and stiffness) as well as additional physical and mental features. In addition, these diseases typically do not respond to Parkinson’s treatments.
The theme for this year’s World MSA Day is “A Mile and a Candle.” All around the globe, MSA activists will be lighting a candle today at 8:00 p.m. local time for one hour. Participants are being asked to light a candle for each person they know who is living with MSA or has been lost to MSA. As candles are lit across every continent, a virtual 24-hour wave of light will be created as it moves from time zone to time zone.
In addition, activists will be walking a mile (or more) in honor of MSA, then reporting their mileage on the “A Mile and a Candle Counter Page.” The goal is to tally enough miles from enough participants to equal 24, 901 miles, which is the circumference of the earth at the equator. If this goal is accomplished, MSA Day supporters will have “walked around the earth” to raise awareness of this little-known disease.
Here at PatientsLikeMe, 485 patients report MSA, with 54% of them female and 46% of them male. The most common age bracket reported is 50-59 years of age, while some of the most commonly reported symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, emotional lability and bladder problems. Get to know our MSA patients today and, if you can, light a candle or walk a mile in their honor.