Ataxia is the name for a condition featured by the lack of the muscle coordination during the voluntary movements and it can also affect our walking or even have negative effects on speech, swallowing and eye movements.
Causes of ataxia
Ataxia which is prolonged is typically caused by the damage of cerebellum, which is responsible for the proper functioning of our muscles and their appropriate coordination. It is well-known that the right side of cerebellum has the role to control muscle coordination on the right side of the body, while the left side of the cerebellum regulates the muscle function on the left body’s side. Therefore, when the cerebellum is impaired, it leads to the malfunction of the muscles. Furthermore, cerebellum is connected with muscles by the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, so in the cases when they are also damaged, ataxia may occur. Ataxia may be inherited, but it may also be induced by a head injury, stroke and cerebral palsy, as well as by multiple sclerosis, tumor and chickenpox. Moreover, it is proven that transient ischemic attack, paraneoplastic syndromes and toxic reactions may also lead to the occurrence of ataxia.
Symptoms of ataxia
The symptoms of this condition depend on the cause that is responsible for the incidence of it. They may appear suddenly, or they may develop gradually over time, but furthermore, the symptoms of ataxia depend on the part of the body that is affected by this condition. The most common symptoms of ataxia are difficulty in everyday activities, such as walking, eating, writing or similar activities. The person that suffers from ataxia usually walks unsteady and may easily fall. Furthermore, there are cases when the person cannot swallow either food or water, and when that person has problems with eye movements. It is vital to go and consult a doctor if these symptoms occur. Moreover, these signs may be accompanied by body imbalance and slurred speech.
Treatment of ataxia
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for this condition that is considered to be the most effective. However, it is in practice that the best solution for treating ataxia is to cure the causes that are responsible for its occurrence. In the majority of cases, doctors suggest adaptive devices and specific therapies. Depending on the cause, the most suggested adaptive devices are communication aids for speaking and modified utensils for eating. For those who have problems with walking, canes or walker are recommended. Of therapies, the most recommended are speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.