The main symptom associated with multiple system atrophy is postural hypotension, which occurs when a person feels lightheaded, dizzy or faint after standing up from a sitting position, according to Mayo Clinic. Postural hypotension is a type of low blood pressure.
Multiple system atrophy may cause some people to have problems with involuntary body functions, which may include constipation or difficulty controlling the bowels or bladder, according to Mayo Clinic. Multiple system atrophy may cause some people to produce less saliva, sweat and tears than usual. Some people may experience an increase in temperature sensitivity, which may cause the hands and feet to be cold. It can also cause some people to have trouble coping with heat due to a lack of perspiration.
Multiple system atrophy may cause some people to experience difficulty breathing while sleeping, notes Mayo Clinic, and it may also disturb sleep by causing people to act out their dreams. Multiple system atrophy may decrease sexual desire, and it can cause impotence in men. Some people with multiple system atrophy may experience an irregular heartbeat. Multiple system atrophy may also cause difficulty controlling emotions. Additional side effects may occur depending on whether the multiple system atrophy is the Parkinsonian type or the cerebellar type.