With this year's theme,
the NAF plans to improve awareness about the symptoms of the ataxia so that
more people are aware of and can recognize the condition, and therefore, can
suggest appropriate medical help to those in need.
‘The International Ataxia Awareness Day, earmarked 25th September by the National Ataxia Foundation and other organizations with the theme – Ataxia Symptoms’
In addition to improving
awareness among the general public, the
organizers also hope that the awareness will help to increase the confidence of
patients affected by the condition. An increased awareness among physicians
will also aid in the diagnosis of cases that could otherwise be missed.
also hopes to inspire the medical fraternity, researchers as well as the
governments of various countries to take steps to find a cure for ataxia.
You could join in
increasing awareness about ataxia either online through social media, or by
participating in activities organized in your community for the purpose.
is a degenerative
neurological condition, or rather a group of conditions, that can affect
individuals of any age, sometimes even children. It affects a part of the brain called the cerebellum, which is
responsible for balance and coordination
. The symptoms usually worsen with
time, sometimes slowly but sometimes quickly.
Conditions under ataxia include:
- Episodic Ataxia
- Multiple System
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia
- Sporadic Ataxia
The symptoms of ataxia
include the following:
usually has a genetic basis
- Poor balance and
a tendency to stumble during walking
- Speech becomes
slurred. Eating and swallowing are also affected
- Fine motor skills
are affected with lack of coordination, as a result of which the person
could appear clumsy to an inexperienced eye. The tremors may only make the
- The movements of
the eyes may not be coordinated
function may be affected
- Assistive devices
like wheelchair or walker may be required, while some forms of the disease
may reduce life span. Patients may also suffer from depression due to
. It may run in families or appear without a
family history. The ataxia gene could be inherited in an autosomal dominant
pattern, where the risk of an offspring being affected is 50% if one parent is
affected, or autosomal recessive, where the chances of inheritance are less,
and the appearance of symptoms can even skip generations. Genetic testing and
genetic counseling may be advised for families with individuals with a genetic
predisposition for ataxia.
There is no specific
treatment for ataxia, though speech and language therapy, occupational therapy,
physical therapy and sometimes medications are used to improve the symptoms.
The symptoms of ataxia
can also occur in the presence of infections, injuries, cancer, stroke, intake
of certain drugs or poisons, vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes, problems with
the inner ear and other conditions. An MRI may be useful in diagnosing some of
these conditions. These conditions can be sometimes treated, often resulting in
an improvement of symptoms.
- Learn About Ataxia - (https://www.ataxia.org/international-ataxia-awareness-day/)
- Ataxia - (https://ataxia.org/)