Ataxia is a medical condition which results in the lack of muscle coordination that usually affects voluntary movements such as walking, eye movements, speech, and the patient’s ability to swallow. This condition is most common among children between ages 2 and 7. Ataxia disorder is also known as Cerebellitis. The cerebellum in the brain is responsible for the involuntary actions of your body. This condition occurs, when the cerebellum becomes inflamed or gets damaged.
Types of Ataxia
Sensory Ataxia- It occurs due to the loss of proprioception. The dorsal column of the spinal cord fails to carry proprioception information from the body to the brain.
Vestibular Ataxia- It occurs when there are irregularities in the vestibular canal. This type of ataxia results in the feeling of vertigo, nausea, and vomiting.
Cerebral Ataxia- It occurs when there is a problem in the cerebellum. The abnormalities in the cerebellum affect the vision and body balance of the patient.
Causes of Ataxia
The most common cause of ataxia is the deficiency of Vitamin B12. The other causes of ataxia may include:
The signs and symptoms depend on the type and severity of the ataxia. If you experience any of the below symptoms, consult a Neurologist.
Diagnosis of Ataxia
The diagnostic tests for Ataxia may include:
- Electromyography (EMG) – It records and evaluates the electrical impulses in the muscles. Electrodes are placed in the muscles to detect the area of the nerve damage.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) - This test measures the amount of blood cells in your body. The amount of red and white blood cells and platelets is known through this test.
- CT (Computerised Tomography) - It is a technique in which several x-rays are taken from a different angle and combined later to make detailed images of the affected area.
- MRI (Magnetic Resource Imaging) - It is an imaging test in which high frequency magnetic and radio waves are used to get detailed images of inside the brain.
- Urinalysis - This test helps in detecting the infection that may be contributing in the development of Ataxia.
The goal of the ataxia treatment is to revive muscle function, improve mobility, and reduce the further development of the disorder. The treatment of ataxia includes therapies and medications.
- Medicines- A doctor prescribes certain medicines to boost the patient’s immunity system and reduce the frequency of muscle spasm and uncontrolled eye movements.
- Speech therapy- With the help of speech aids, the speech therapist deals with problems of coughing, swallowing, choking, and speech problems.
- Orthopaedic and Physical therapy- It includes particular exercise to increase the strength and mobility of the muscle. These therapies are effective in the treatment of spine disorders.