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Ataxia Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Ataxia ?

The condition is marked by the body’s inability to control its muscles during the voluntary movements. More specifically, ataxia affects your eye movements, speech and ability to walk and swallow. Ataxia, is a symptom of a causal condition. Often, persistent ataxia is caused by the damage to your cerebellum, the specific part of our brain that controls our muscle coordination. A number of conditions are identified for sourcing ataxia, few of which include:

Besides, a defective gene, carried forward from an affected parent to his or her child, can also cause ataxia. Its treatment relies upon its cause. A number of adaptive devices for example walkers can help the patient walk without support. Besides, speech, occupational and physical therapy can also help.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ataxia ?

Its symptoms either develop suddenly or gradually. The health condition is known to root the following signs:

  • Swallowing difficulties.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Change in speech.
  • Nystagmus.
  • Difficulty performing day to day tasks such as changing clothes, eating or writing.
  • Unsteady walk.

When Is The Right Time To Seek Medical Assistance ?

It is advice to call up for an appointment with a health care provider in case you notice the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Lose muscle coordination (leg, arm or hand).
  • Lose balance.

What Causes Of Ataxia ?

Loss, degeneration or damage to the nerve cells present in the specific portion of the brain which controls our muscle coordination, sources ataxia. A number of health conditions are known to cause ataxia, these include:

  • Chickenpox.
  • Head trauma.
  • Stroke.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Transient ischemic attack.
  • Toxic reaction.
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes.
  • Vitamin B-12 or E deficiency.
  • Tumor.

In addition to the causes of ataxia, few forms of ataxia, whilst few health conditions that trigger ataxia tend to he inherited.

How Is Ataxia Diagnosis ?

In case of suffering from the condition, the doctor will take steps to identify its cause. Determining the cause of ataxia, helps the doctor prepare a best treatment plan for your case. Initially, the doctor will carry out a physical evaluation, and perform a neurological exam wherein

he or she will check the following:

  • Concentration and memory.
  • Reflexes and coordination.
  • Balance.
  • Hearing.
  • Vision.

After which, the doctor will suggest lab tests that may possibly include the following:

  • Imaging studies: CT or MRI scan of the brain.
  • Lumbar puncture.
  • Genetic testing.

How Is Ataxia Treatment ?

There are no particular treatments for ataxia. At times, treating the causal condition helps treat ataxia consequently. Cases, wherein it is triggered by some viral infection for example chickenpox, ataxia often resolves after completing the due course. In such cases, medical assistance is rarely needed. Moreover, the doctor can suggest therapies or adaptive devices to manage the condition with ataxia.

By : Natural Health News

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