People who are diagnosed with ataxia lose muscle control in their
arms and legs, which may lead to a lack of balance, coordination, and
possibly a disturbance in gait. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands,
arms, legs, body, speech, and even eye movements.
Ataxia is often used to describe the symptom of incoordination that
may accompany infections, injuries, other diseases, and/or
degenerative changes in the central nervous system. The symptom of
ataxia can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors,
alcoholism, peripheral neuropathy, metabolic disorders, and vitamin
deficiencies. in these cases, treating the condition that caused
ataxia my improve it.
While the term ataxia usually describes symptoms, it also describes
a group of specific degenerative diseases of the central nervous
system called the hereditary and sporadic ataxias. The remainder of
this article discusses these disorders.