‘Ataxia’ aka lack of co-ordination is one of the rare diseases that has no treatment yet. The ataxia sufferers deal with a lot of issues related to co-ordination of the body. Since the part of the nervous system, cerebellum, which controls and manages the movement and balance in the body damages slowly, it affects the body peripherals including arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc.
Symptoms of this degenerative disease include slurred speech, stumbling, falling, and lack of coordination. However, the symptoms may vary depending on the type of ataxia. Most commonly, in the initial stages of all ataxia types, it is the lack of balance and co-ordination symptoms that appear in the sufferers. These symptoms worsen overtime as the disease progresses.
Symptoms of Ataxia
As mentioned earlier, ataxia symptoms differ from person to person, and the type of ataxia the person suffers with. Common symptoms of Ataxia are:
Lack of coordination
Inability to walk properly
Abnormalities in gait
Difficulties in eye movements
Diagnosis of Ataxia
The diagnosis of Ataxia requires a combination of medical tests and strategies. These generally include medical history, family history, and a complete neurological evaluation. MRI scan and various blood tests may be performed to diagnose Ataxia. The type of Ataxia is confirmed by a genetic blood test.
Treatment of Ataxia
So far there isn’t any sure shot treatment for the disorder. But fortunately the research on different medication and therapies are in progress, and we can expect a treatment for this disorder very soon. However, various medicines and therapies are involved in the ataxia treatment for treating some of the symptoms and also to improve the quality of life of the sufferer.
The rare disease ataxia has no cure in medicine yet, but the symptoms can improve with help of different therapies and medicines. The therapies including physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and others like these help in managing the symptoms of ataxia, and also help to improve them. The physicians also suggest supplements including Vitamin E & B, Omega 3, Multivtamins etc. Many other medications may also be prescribed by your physician to improve many of the ataxia symptoms.
Given below is the link for the ataxia treatment development pipeline:-
Most commonly, all the ataxia sufferers experience issues when using their fingers and hands, arms, legs, walking, speaking or eye movements. This rare disorder can affect a person in his childhood, adulthood or elderly age. However, the period of onset varies from person to person and the type of ataxia he/she suffers with.
Types of Ataxia
There are two types of ataxia- Hereditary and Acquired ataxia. Here is a brief explanation of the two:
These types of ataxias are genetic and are caused by a disorder or a defect in a certain gene of the DNA. Therefore this type of ataxia is present from the start of a person’s life and is inherited from his/her parents. Hereditary Ataxias are inherited and passed from generation to generation and may occur due to a single copy of a defective gene passing from parent to child, or may be caused due to two copies of a defective gene passed from each of the parents. The most common types of hereditary ataxias include Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA I, SCAII, SCAIII, SCAVI, SCAVII,SCA12) and Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA).
Many times people develop symptoms of ataxia in their adulthood out of nowhere. This means people suffering from acquired ataxia have no known family history of the disease. The cause for such ataxias is external and due to certain life problems and events like vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune conditions, infections, alcohol or drugs, or different cancer types. Sporadic Ataxia or Multiple system Atrophy are the main types of acquired ataxia.
Ataxia is a degenerative disorder of the nervous system. In this the sufferer initially has balancing and gait issues. He/she gradually becomes a wheelchair bound. In several cases the sufferer may also face an early death.
Whether the ataxia is genetic or not, depends on the type of ataxia the person suffers with. But in India specifically, Spino Cerebelar Ataxia (SCA) Types and Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) are very common among ataxians, all of which are genetic.
Various thing are evaluated to diagnose ataxia including medical history and family history, and MRI scan and various blood tests help in Ataxia diagnosis. The type of Ataxia is confirmed by a genetic blood test that is DNA test.
Unfortunately there is no cure for this rare disease. However, medical research on various therapies and medicines is going on worldwide, assuring there soon will be a cure. However various therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, physio-therapy etc. can be helpful to improve the quality of life of ataxia sufferers. Along with that, several medications can help treating the symptoms to some extent.