What are Chiari malformations? What are Chiari malformations?

What are Chiari malformations?

Armony in health 28 September, 2016 Ana María López de Mesa

Chiari syndrome is one of the so-called “Rare Diseases” whose symptoms are so common that they make diagnosis difficult, as they are confused with other ailments.

The disease consists of some structural defects that occur in the cerebellum. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIID): “normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem are seated in a notched space at the bottom rear of the skull, above the foramen magnum (a hole in the shape of a funnel pointed toward the spinal canal). When part of the cerebellum is located below the foramen magnum, it is called Chiari malformation”.

When this occurs, due to the pressure, both the cerebellum and the spinal cord may not work properly or it can obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, thus affecting the mobility, feeling or coordination of some parts of the body.

In order to publicize the existence of this disease, make its symptoms known among society in order for those who suffer it and their relatives to recognize it in time, and raise the awareness of the public and the medical community of the importance of early diagnosis, International Arnold Chiari Syndrome Day is commemorated on September 29.

Symptoms may vary depending on the type of malformation. However, the most common are:

  • Neck pain
  • Ataxia (or difficulty coordinating movement)
  • Paralysis of the lower part of the body
  • Balance problems
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of sensitivity or muscle atrophy
  • Muscle weakness or numbness in the arms or legs

Knowing these symptoms is of vital importance to be alert to their presence and act in time.