What you should know about ataxia What you should know about ataxia

What you should know about ataxia

Prevention 22 September, 2016 Isabel Vallejo


More than 200 diseases of the nervous system are related to ataxia, a symptom that is characterized by difficulty in coordinating movements.

On September 25, we celebrate international ataxia awareness day.  Ataxia is a disorder that usually occurs when the parts of the brain that control movement are damaged.

As described by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the United States (NINDS), “people with ataxia suffer a failure in the muscle control of the arms and legs which causes a loss of balance or coordination or a disturbance of gait”.

Ataxia, therefore, is not a disease or specific diagnosis, but rather a symptom that appears in multiple hereditary or acquired neurological diseases.

Although it is difficult to prevent and cure them, it is important to know how to recognize this symptom and seek medical help to find the underlying cause as soon as possible in order to get the most optimal treatment.

As specified by the NINDS, these are some of the steps that can help control ataxia in specific cases:

  • Caused by a metabolic disorder: it can be treated by a controlled diet and medications.
  • Due to vitamin deficiency: it can be improved simply by the controlled intake of vitamins.
  • In cases of swallowing and gait disorders:  There is both pharmacological and physical therapy treatment, through which the muscles can be strengthened again.