Ataxia is a medical condition that impacts balance, coordination, and speech. These symptoms can affect any part of the body and may vary from person to person.
Types of Ataxia
Ataxia falls into three general categories:
Symptoms occur because of trauma, a stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), a brain tumour, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, or other issues that impair the brain or nervous system.
Symptoms emerge gradually over time and are caused by faulty genes that a person inherits.
Idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia (ILOCA)
This is where the brain is progressively impaired over time for insufficient medically understood reasons.
What causes ataxia?
Ataxia is thought to be caused by injury or impairment to the brain or nervous system, such as MS, head injuries, a lack of oxygen to the brain, or long-term alcohol consumption. Ataxia can also be inherited as a faulty gene passed on family lines.
Living with ataxia
Individuals with ataxia often struggle with the following:
- balance and walking
- tasks that require fine motor skills, like writing and eating
Symptoms can change from person to person, and the impact of these symptoms also depends on which type of ataxia the person is living with.
Treatment for ataxia
Most types of ataxia are not curable. However, treatment and therapy can be effective in easing symptoms. Types of therapy can include:
- speech and language therapy to assist with speech and swallowing difficulties
- physiotherapy to aid with movement issues
- occupational therapy to help you with day-to-day problems
- medication to manage muscle, bladder, heart, and eye problems