Spinocerebellar ataxia or abbreviated SCA is a rare genetic disease,degenerative and progressive in nature. There are 11 different types of this disorderbut in all of them there is a degeneration of the spinal cord and the brain. Thehealth of these patients deteriorates extremely quickly.
Symptoms and Signs of Cerebellar Ataxia
The part of the brain that gets affected by this disease iscerebellum. It normally regulates complex voluntary muscle movements, and is integralpart of the balance and posture of a person. So, when cerebellum degenerate, this leads to many different symptoms, all connected to the muscles. People lose thecoordination of their hands and experience eye movement and speech problems.
Ataxia is one of the main symptoms, characterized by inabilityto maintain some basic muscle coordination, such as coordination of the leftand right leg or eye and hand. These patients also experience slurred speech,speaking problems like incoherent speech. Some of them might also be disabledto comprehend the language and speak in it (which is known as aphasia).
There is also a problem with movements, because the personmight experience irregular spasms, which can be of different intensity. Paralysisbelow the waist line is also one of the problems associated with cerebellarataxia. Paralysis is temporary but can vary in duration depending on theparticular patient and it usually affects the calf or thigh muscles.
Bad posture or hunch-back is also characteristic for peoplesuffering from cerebellar ataxia, since their spine gets damaged and provokesthis condition.
Unfortunately, there are no cures for cerebellar ataxia. If youhappen to notice some of the above mentioned symptoms in someone from your familyor friends, it’s best to take this person to see the doctor, preferably a neurologist.The specialist will be able to assess the situation and properly diagnose the condition.
Even if the disease is not curable, there are still sometreatment options for the patients suffering from this condition. The therapywill be able to control some of the symptoms, but it can’t stop the progressionof cerebellar ataxia.
The disease is treated with the combination of medicationsand vitamins that should be prescribed and recommended by your neurologist. Thetreatment always depends on the type of the disease, cause of the condition andpresent symptoms. Many patients also experience some additional symptoms, indirectlycaused by their disease, such as sleeping problems or depression, and their doctorsshould address those issues too. Patients are advised to be independent as muchas possible and to use adaptive devices for walking and communication.