Lack of coordination of muscle movements resulting in the impairment or inability to perform voluntary activities. Causes include peripheral nerve disorders, posterior column injuries, cerebral and cerebellar disorders, basal ganglia disorders, and thalamic disorders.

Symptoms of Ataxia

The following features are indicative of Ataxia:
  • poor coordination
  • difficulty in performing fine motor tasks
  • changes in speech fluency
  • involuntary back and forth eye movements
  • difficulty in swallowing
It is possible that Ataxia shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Ataxia

The following are the most common causes of Ataxia:
  • degeneration of nerve cells
  • head trauma
  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • autoimmune diseases
  • viral infections

Other Causes of Ataxia

The following are the less common causes of Ataxia:
  • brain tumors
  • toxic reactions like heavy metal poisoning from lead or mercury

Risk Factors for Ataxia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Ataxia:
  • older age
  • abnormal neuroimaging
  • neurodevelopmental delay

Prevention of Ataxia

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Ataxia. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get advice from genetic counselor before conceiving a child if family history of Ataxia

Occurrence of Ataxia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Ataxia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Ataxia can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Ataxia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Ataxia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Ataxia:
  • Brain MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging): To find out any shrinkage of the cerebellum or other brain structures
  • CT scan (Computed tomography): To check the presence of a blood clot or benign tumor that could be pressing on cerebellum
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): To remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for testing
  • Genetic testing: To determine any gene mutation that causes one of the hereditary ataxic conditions

Complications of Ataxia if untreated

Yes, Ataxia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Ataxia is left untreated:
  • lymphoma
  • diabetes
  • kyphosis
  • scoliosis
  • recurrent lung infections

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Ataxia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Ataxia:
  • Physical therapy: It facilitates motor learning for retraining specific functional motor patterns

Time for Treatment of Ataxia

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Ataxia to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Ataxia.
Friedreich's Ataxia
Ataxia Telangiectasia

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