What is Ataxia?

If you're reading this article, you are probably wondering what is ataxia? Quite simply, the ataxia definition is a general term to describe damage which has occurred to areas of the brain or spinal cord, especially the cerebellum. The result of this damage impairs coordination or speech. Ataxia can present itself in many forms, and from several different causes, making it particularly difficult to narrow down to one set of symptoms.

Because ataxia's definition is so broad and there are several causes, there are numerous types and classifications. The purpose of this is not only to make clear what is ataxia, but to talk specifically about spinocerebellar ataxia. Spinocerebellar ataxia is a hereditary disorder stemming from a malfunctioning gene. It is degenerative, meaning that the disorder will become more pronounced with time. Since it is hereditary, spinocerebellar is not an infection which can be transmitted to others from close contact.

Our brain is the mother board for all of our bodily functions, and together with the spinal cord, it makes up our central nervous system. The ataxia definition is a loss of muscle coordination due to damage in the brain, and the cause for spinocerebellar ataxia is damage to the cerebellum caused by a malfunctioning gene. This gene causes the production of abnormal proteins, and these proteins wear down the cells in various areas of the brain, but especially the cerebellum. The resulting damage is the brain's inability to coordinate movements.

Although there is much research being conducted to further understand what is ataxia, and especially on spinocerebellar ataxia, there is no cure, however there are several treatment options available. The treatments for spinocerebellar ataxia focus primarily on alleviating the symptoms, and improving or maintaining mobility and coordination. Both physical and occupational therapy can be used to help maintain strength, and canes or walkers can then be used for balance. Depending on the progress of the condition, different devices are available to make day to day tasks simpler. It is important if you suspect yourself, or someone you care about, of having spinocerebellar ataxia that you seek a diagnosis, and then best evaluate treatment options.

It is also not uncommon for someone to experience depression due to the loss of independence which can occur with ataxia. It is also important to know that besides treatment options, there could be valuable resources in your area to provide emotional support for those diagnosed with ataxia. However, even with a lower range of mobility, it is still possible to live a fulfilling and active life.

So, what is ataxia? The ataxia definition is a very broad term that describes damage to the brain from injury or illness, and spinocerebellar ataxia is specifically due to a genetic malfunction. There are many avenues for treatment, and it is important for those diagnosed to seek emotional support as well as physical treatment.