Last Updated on Jul 29, 2014

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ataxia

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is done mainly with MRI scan and genetic testing. Blood tests may also be done. Treatment includes treating the underlying cause, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Diagnosis of ataxia may be suspected based on the patientís history and physical examination. MRI scan of the brain is performed to find out the cause of ataxia. Other tests may also be done e.g. thyroid hormone level to check for hypothyroidism, copper levels to check for Wilsonís disease and estimation of drugs or alcohol levels to detect intoxication. Genetic testing may be done to detect hereditary disease.

Treatment

In some cases, treating the underlying cause leads to recovery from ataxia. Such treatable causes include hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, infections and some tumours. Some cases such as hereditary ataxias do not have any specific treatment. Treatment is aimed at training the patient to adapt to the disease, for example, providing cane for walking or appliances to help to eat. Physical therapy is used to increase the strength of muscles. Occupational therapy should also be undertaken for these patients.

References:

  1. Harrisonís Principles of Internal Medicine 17th edition
  2. Brunberg JA. Ataxia. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2008; 29:1420-1422

Comments

kenny66 Thursday, July 19, 2018

CAN CEREBELLAR ATAXIA BE AGGRAVATED BY ANY KIND OF ACTIVITY? ALSO, IS THIS DISORDER PART OF THE PARKINSON DISEASE FAMILY?>=

Willowkitty Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I cannot walk a straight line. It was so bad Sunday that I went to the hospital to see if I had a stroke. No stroke, no MS, taking meds for heart attack back in December. Doctors don't know what is causing it. Very frustrated.

Imayavaramban Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last month, I got injured in my head due to road accident. I found some symptoms in me relevant to ataxia. What should i do next ?

Jimbo1789 Monday, December 3, 2012

I got ataxia from interferon shots. Collapsed one day, wound up in hospital for 2 weeks in a coma, had pneumonia, anemia requiring transfusion, dysphagia, dyskinesia and dysarthria, After 3 months of therapy speech is still affected and still cannot walk w/o qualified supervision. Are there any treatments available?

marnie65 Friday, July 20, 2012

For the last two months, I have had Bacteremia four times with E-Coli ESBL, and Proteus. I have been covered extensively with Gentamicin and Vancomycin. My Creatinine has been rising and is now 131. My GFR has been decreasing, which is now 38. As well, I have lost my sense of balance and I am experiencing a great deal of difficulty walking. Initially I thought this was due to severe anemia, HGB 88, with iron depletion. Now I wonder about ataxia from the aminoglycocides, and if this is the case, is it reversible?

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