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It is commonly the presence of abnormal and uncoordinated muscle movement. It is a neurological sign that infers dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that aid in coordinating movement. It is a condition that affects the movement of the eye, speech, writing and swallowing and many other activities that depend on motor control.It is a term used broadly to indicate lack of coordination in the core physiological process. There are several types of ataxias that expound more on the disorder and they are;
This is type of ataxia caused by dysfunction of the cerebellum, a region in the brain which aids in the assimilation of sensory coordination, motor control and perception. Cerebellum is responsible for the integrating a substantial amount of neural information that is helpful in coordinating smooth movements and motor control planning. Cerebellar ataxias causes basic neurological problems such as hypotonia, lack of coordination between limbs, joints, organs and muscles, dysdiadochokinesia, dysmetria and dyschronometria.
This is a type of ataxia that is as a result of loss of proprioception, the sense of relative position of nearby parts of the body. It is a kind of sense that points out whether the body is moving as required and where the body parts are located in relation to each other. Dysfunction of the dorsal columns of the spinal cord cause sensory ataxia as they carry proprioceptive messages up to the brain. Sensory ataxia is characterized by postural instability, unsteady stomping gait accompanied by heavy heel strikes.
It occurs due to the dysfunction of the vestibular system. it is a condition associated with nausea, vomiting and vertigo. Patients are known to experience unsteadiness and giddiness.
Its Symptoms and signs vary depending on the severity and the type of ataxia one may be suffering from and they are many. For instance, if ataxia is caused by an injury or health complications symptoms may occur at any age, improve and eventual disappear undyingly. The initial symptoms of ataxia include;
- Poor limb and joint coordination
- Slurred and slow speech accompanied by difficulty in controlling volume, pitch and rhythm
- Swallowing problems
- Less apparent facial expressions
- Cold feet
- Walking complications
- Hearing problem and
Deficiency of Vitamin B12 and neurological abnormalities can cause sensory ataxia and overlapping cerebellar. Genetic flaws easily inherited from mother or father or both can cause inherited ataxia. This gene can be passed from one generation to the next. Procedures such as brain surgery, alcohol abuse, head injury, drug abuse, brain tumor, chicken pox and multiple sclerosis can all cause different types of ataxia.
A neurologist can easily diagnose and offer the best treatment and prevent measures. While diagnosing ataxia, the specialist will check patient’s medical history and either conduct tests such as Magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] or computerized tomography [CT] scan. Blood, urine and genetic tests are essential in determining whether the patient as any signs of ataxia.
Is not treatable, but a great deal can be undertaken to ease the its symptoms and improve life of the patient. There are several adaptive devices that patients can use and treat coordination and balance difficulties. This includes use of wheelchair, walking sticks and crutches. Other symptoms can be treated through physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, orthopedic care and extensive counselling. Medications such as gamma-globulin injection can aid patients with ataxia telangiectasia.