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Understanding Ataxia, Movement Disorders and Body Balance

Ataxia is a disorder of the ability to coordinate nerves and muscles that affect the ability of humans to move, maintain body balance and speech. Or, the opposite is true. Unconscious body movements occur, such as the hands or feet moving independently without being moved. The meaning of the word ataxia is without coordination. To note, ataxia is more precisely not a disease, but a sign or symptom of an illness / condition that needs to be watched out for.

Recognize the cause of ataxia

Ataxia can be caused by several factors, for example due to damage to the cerebellum or cerebellum, can also occur due to genetic disorders that cause interference with the development of the cerebellum or spinal cord while in the womb. Other causes of ataxia include brain tumors, strokes, multiple sclerosis, injuries and bleeding for example in the spinal cord (spinal cord injury). Malnutrition or malnutrition also has the possibility of causing ataxia, for example due to lack of vitamin B12. Ataxia can also be caused by poisoning chemicals from the environment, including excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse.

Types and symptoms of ataxia

Based on the affected area, ataxia is divided into three types, namely cerebellar ataxia (brain), vestibular ataxia (ear), and sensory ataxia (nervous system). Therefore, the symptoms of ataxia that arise also vary, depending on which part of the disorder. Symptoms that can occur include:
  • Feeling tired easily, difficulty in swallowing and often choking when drinking.
  • Difficulty speaking, words spoken are not clear, and the tempo of the speech becomes slow.
  • Difficulty walking or stumbling, often tripping and falling.
  • Difficulty moving your hands to perform daily activities, such as eating or writing.
  • Disorders control eye movements or nystagmus, so vision seems blurry and difficult to read or see.

How to treat ataxia

There is no specific treatment for treating ataxia. Treatment of ataxia is determined by the type of ataxia that is experienced and the underlying disease. Before that the doctor will conduct an examination which includes collecting history data of complaints, physical examination, then if necessary a scan of the brain through a CT scan or MRI. Treatment that can be given to treat ataxia, generally includes:
  • Physiotherapy

  • This method aims to restore the body's ability to move or retrieve and move objects to perform daily activities independently.
  • Speech therapy

  • This therapy is done if ataxia causes difficulty in talking, swallowing, and other things that interfere with mouth function.
  • Occupational therapy

  • This therapy aims to help sufferers to live independently and improve quality of life even in unhealthy conditions.
  • Giving medicine

  • The purpose of drug administration is to overcome disorders of the muscles, eyes, nerves, and other parts affected by ataxia.
Until now there has been no proven effective way to prevent ataxia. Therefore, it is important for all of us to know what factors can trigger the onset of symptoms of ataxia and avoid it. Consult a doctor immediately if symptoms of ataxia arise. Because the more quickly handled, the risk of complications that may occur will be smaller.

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