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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.