Conditions that cause ataxia include defective genes, strokes, tumors, alcohol abuse and various neurological disorders, according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include a lack of coordination, inability to walk properly, speech difficulties, involuntary eye movements and difficulty swallowing. Treatment may consist of physical, speech and occupational therapy.
Individuals can inherit cerebellar ataxia, a dysfunction of the cerebellum, from either or both parents, and in some cases the condition worsens from generation to generation, as stated by Medical News Today. Other conditions that can bring on nonhereditary ataxia include head injuries, brain surgeries, toxic chemical exposure and drug abuse. Cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis are some of the neurological conditions that can lead to ataxia.
Primary symptoms include problems with coordination and speech, and as ataxia progresses, patients may also have difficulties with balance, hearing and vision, according to Medical News Today. Depression may set in due to the difficulty of coping with symptoms. Ataxia is incurable, and treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and helping patients maintain good quality of life. Counseling helps with depression and frustration, and in some cases, special diets, vitamin supplements and medications can help to manage symptoms. To remain mobile, patients may use canes, walkers, crutches or wheelchairs.