- by Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm
- 0 Shares
- Mar 26 2018
What is Ataxia?
It is a movement disorder caused by problems in the brain. A person might have trouble moving parts of the body the way they want or the muscles in your arms and legs might move when you don’t want them to. It causes damage to different areas of the central nervous system. The areas include Cerebellar, sensory and vestibular.
Cerebellar Ataxia: Cerebellum is the part of the brain that is in charge of balance and coordination. If part of your cerebellum starts to wear away then you can develop cerebellar ataxia. It can also affect the spinal cord.
Symptoms of cerebellar ataxia include:
- Behaviour of personality changes
- Changes in voice
- Low muscle tone
- Muscle tremors
- Slurred speech
- Trouble walking
- Wide gait
Sensory Ataxia: It is the result of the damage to nerves in the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system. It is the part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord. A person may have less sensation in feet and legs from the nerve damage.
Sensory ataxia symptoms includes:
- Difficulty touching your finger to your nose with closed eyes
- Inability to sense vibrations
- Trouble walking in dim light
Vestibular Ataxia: It affects the vestibular system and it is made up of the inner ear and ear canals, which contain fluid.
Symptoms of vestibular Ataxia are:
- Blurred vision and other eye issues
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems standing and sitting
- Staggering when you walk
- Trouble walking in a straight line
- Vertigo, or dizziness
The exact cause is not known but it can be genetic or acquired, like injuries or damage to spinal cord or nerves.
Genetic ataxia includes:
- Ataxia telangiectasia
- Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia
- Dominant spastic ataxias
- Dominant spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA)
- Episodic ataxia
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Recessive spastic ataxias
- Wilson’s disease
Acquired ataxia includes:
- Brain tumors
- Blood loss to the brain
- Cerebral palsy
- Head trauma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Reactions to certain cancers
- Vitamin E or B12 deficiency
A doctor will ask for a physical exam and a neurological exam, which might include an MRI or CT scan.
There is no specific treatment for ataxia itself but symptoms of ataxia can be treated. The doctor may recommend:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
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