Today, September 25th, is International Ataxia Awareness Day. Ataxia can describe either a symptom of a disorder that causes difficulty with coordination, or can be a disorder in itself from a group of neurological degenerative diseases. Ataxia typically involves lack of coordination in the arms or legs from loss of muscle control, which results in problems with balance, coordination, and/or walking difficulties. It can also impact general movements, speech, eye movement, and ability to swallow. Some ataxias are hereditary, some are acquired, and some are due to diseases which affect the cells in the part of the brain which controls muscle coordination (the cerebellum) or the spinal cord. If the ataxia is hereditary, or due to a permanent change in the brain, there is currently no cure, although there are many therapies and assistive devices that can help with day to day independence and activity. If it is an acquired ataxia, the cause can sometimes be treated and as a result the symptom of ataxia also diminishes – for example, some types of vitamin deficiency can cause ataxia, and vitamin therapy can reduce this as a symptom alongside any other symptoms the affected person may be experiencing. Other conditions that may cause ataxia are stroke, alcohol abuse, metabolic disorders, multiple sclerosis, tumors, head trauma, or peripheral neuropathy.
For more resources or to find out how to support research for ataxia, you can contact the National Ataxia Foundation by phone at 763-553-0020, or visit their website at: http://www.ataxia.org
They have a great list of fact sheets, including frequently asked questions, information about different types of ataxia (classifications), ideas for diet to discuss with your neurologist, the genetics of ataxia, ataxia in children, etc.at: http://www.ataxia.org/resources/publications.aspx
If you have been diagnosed with ataxia and are looking for a support group in your area, there is a Twin Cities Ataxia Support Group meeting held monthly, the next coming up on October 19th.
“Saturday, October 19, 2013
Twin Cities Ataxia Support Group Meeting
The Twin Cities Ataxia Support Group meets once a month. Family and friends of an afflicted individual are always welcome! We meet on the third Saturday of every month at 10:00am in a meeting room at Langton Place which is located on the south side of the road on County Road D roughly four tenths of a mile east of I35W in Roseville at 1910 W. CTY. RD. D., ROSEVILLE, 55112. We wanted to provide a central location that it easy to access which is why we picked this place. Please join us , and make new connections! For more information contact Lenore Healey Schultz at 612-724-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Find this group and others like it at the National Ataxia Foundation website above.
If you have questions about a loss of coordination or are seeking treatment, please contact Noran Neurological Clinic at 612-879-1500 to schedule an appointment with a neurologist experienced in the diagnosis and management of this condition.