16 Sep What Is the Latest Treatment For Ataxia – Types & Causes
Do you think your child is different from others when you’re walking?
Are you worried about your child’s uncontrolled involuntary movement? Is your kid suffering from a neurological condition?
If these are the thoughts bothering you, you might want to clear your doubts by visiting a child psychiatry doctor in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh.
What is Ataxia?
Ataxia is a broad term defined as uncoordinated muscle movement. It affects your child’s movement ability. You first notice the symptoms when the child starts walking.
The symptoms eventually develop more resulting in a disability. The different movements like walking, eating, talking, or your eye muscles can be affected.
Ataxia is not a disease itself, rather it’s more of a symptom of various conditions or a group of conditions.
An area called cerebellum located in the brain inferiorly is damaged that results in ataxia. Cerebellum is known for the regulation of your movements.
Types of Ataxia
The main Treatment for Ataxia are as follows:
Cerebellar: As the name implies, it’s due to some derangement in cerebellum that manages the working of different parts of the brain.
Sensory: This type attacks your brain’s sense of self-positioning. Even with your eyes closed, you can feel your body parts as to where they are. In sensory ataxia, this sense is disrupted.
Vestibular: In vestibular ataxia, it impacts the vestibule of your ear which is involved in coordination of your balance. So, when this is affected, your balance is uncoordinated and hinders your movement.
What can be cerebellar ataxia stages?
With all of the above things, an additional factor playing a role in influencing ataxia are our genes. The genes we inherit from our parents can also be mutated resulting in development of ataxia.
It can be classified based on two types of inheritance such as
Dominant: in this type, only one gene is mutated.For example,
Spinocerebellar ataxia: The symptoms typically depend on the type of gene that mutated. It affects central and peripheral nervous systems resulting in manifestations like parkinsonism, bulging eyes, and restless leg syndromes.
Episodic ataxia: This manifests in episodes. The symptoms vary according to the length of the episodes.
Recessive: in this type, both the copies of genes are mutated. Fro example,
Friedreich ataxia: results from a gene mutation and decreased fraxtin levels with impact on mitochondrial function.
This condition begins from the age of 5 to 15 years that leads to ataxia in hands, difficulty speaking and paralysis of legs.
Gradually, the developmental functions decline with manifestation of serious conditions of the heart. By the time they are 20, they are in wheelchairs.
Ataxia telangiectasia: This has ataxia as the first symptom.
Telangiectasia, defined as dilated blood vessels, manifests at 4 to 6 years visible on the neck, ears, and face.
This condition makes one prone to cancer and other pulmonary infections. With these symptoms, there’s muscle weakness, and speech is affected too.
Acquired ataxia is a type of ataxia that is acquired due to secondary factors. Some of these examples are:
- Traumatic injury to head
- Tumors in head
- Metabolic condition
- Cerebral palsy
- Binge drinking alcohol
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Side effects of certain chemotherapy drugs, and anticonvulsants
- HIV infection
- Celiac disease
- Neurological disorders
- Congenital conditions like chiari malformations
- Fatigue or stress
- Exposure to poisonous toxins like mercury or lead
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What are the Symptoms Of Ataxia?
One should remember different symptoms of ataxia vary according to people and also depending on the type and severity.
- Poor balance with gait difficulties
- Frequent falls
- Trouble performing motor tasks like writing, eating, buttoning shirt
- Unsteady walk
- Pain during swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Involuntary eye movements known as nystagmus
How Can Ataxia Be Diagnosed?
For the diagnosis of ataxia,you should first know it is very apparent clinically. Although, to confirm it your physician might ask you some questions to know your history.
Your physician would like to evaluate
- Do you think your child’s movements are coordinated?
- How strong is your child’s muscle strength?
- Is your child having blurry vision or his eyes are moving back and forth?
- Did you notice any change in the reflexes of your children?
- Is your child unable to balance themself?
In addition to these clinical history taking, the doctor might order some lab and imaging tests like
- CBC for detecting the infection or vitamin deficiency
- CT scan or MRI to know any lesion in the brain if the underlying condition is a tumor or something else.
- Genetic testing for ruling out inherited ataxia or to know if there are any mutated genes.
- Lumbar puncture, your doctor might insert a needle between two vertebrae and the collected csf is sent to the lab for testing.
How Do You Treat Ataxia?
Treating ataxia depends on treating the underlying cause. At times, treating the underlying cause might help relieve ataxia symptoms.
If it is due to a tumor vitamin deficiency, treating it might make ataxia disappear.
Will there be a cure for ataxia? As of yet, the ataxia caused due to genetic abnormality doesn’t have a cure. Maybe acquired ataxia might be treated but no full recovery is insured.
What is the latest treatment for ataxia?
Ataxia treatment medications for symptomatic relief can be taken like
Gabapentin to help with nerve disorder
Muscle relaxers for stiff muscles causing cramps
Adaptive devices like wheelchairs, walkers to aid with walking. Hearing aids for better hearing. Communication aids consisting of AAC devices for help with speaking.
How do you treat ataxia balance?
To help with the balance and coordination, ataxia treatment with physiotherapy can be done. It can help you with regulating your movement and enhance muscular strength.
What Is The Best Treatment For Ataxia?
Occupational therapy, it can be a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy aiding with mobility, independently performing tasks needed in day to day life like feeding oneself, dressing, or using the restroom.
Speech therapy can assist with your speaking ability, making your speech clearer and focusing on fluency.
A child living with ataxia undergoes a lot of mental emotions regarding social situations, how people see them and how they are treated.
Oftentimes, they get isolated from their peers and this affects their mental health resulting in depression and loneliness.
You have to make sure you’re always available for your kid.
There are support groups for kids dealing with these things to help them get through life. You have to do whatever that is possible for your child’s sanity.
Life Expectancy With Ataxia
Your lifespan with ataxia comp;ete;y depends on the type and underlying causes of ataxia. If you inherit ataxia it can derange your life and daily activities more severely.
This type begins early in childhood and tends to last quite long. Although if you have acquired it due to secondary causes like some brain injury or tumor or any other cause, there is a chance it might be reversible when the cause has been taken care of.
Ataxia can gravely impact the way you live because of its interference with day to day life tasks. The degenerative form gradually weakens your muscles and leaves you tied to a wheelchair.
Even then, there’s no assurance of death from ataxia. Certainly, in these kinds of situations, your physician can give you more information.
If you’re worried about your child’s future with ataxia, visit a Child Psychiatrist in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh.
Ataxia Prevention – Best Child Psychiatrist Doctor in Patna
Now, if you’ve inherited the mutated genes leading to ataxia there’s no prevention to that. But, preventing secondary causes is possible.
- Try staying away from alcohol. It has a lot of negative effects, like addiction and harmful conditions. Excessive amounts of the drink can lead to ataxia.
- Prevent yourself from getting traumatic brain injuries while driving, or if you are an athlete, make sure you wear your headgear.
- A lot of drugs have a lot of side effects. Consulting your physician before taking any drug is important. Make sure you know all the harmful effects before ingesting them.
- Stress is the most notorious of all that causes most of the conditions. Manage your stress in a healthy way. Try meditating, working out, or doing activities that make you happy.
- Treating infections early and without letting them progress to major complications is the key. Especially if you have an ear infection, make sure not to delay the treatment.
- Eating green leafy vegetables, lentils and food that supplies your body with required vitamins and nutrients is important. It can aid with your overall health and keep you healthy.
Living with ataxia takes a toll on one’s mental health. Make sure you visit a neuropsychiatrist experienced in Treatment for Ataxia and get the help you need.