What is it?

Ataxia refers to a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements. People with ataxia may find it hard to walk, speak, or pick up things. Ataxia also affects eye movements and swallowing. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination. Ataxia may be caused due to stroke, alcohol misuse, tumor, cerebral palsy, brain degeneration, multiple sclerosis or inherited conditions such as Friedreich's ataxia.

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Cerebellar ataxia.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Azorean disease
- Hypometria

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of cerebellar ataxia include wide base, uncoordinated walk, back and forth tremor in the trunk of the body, uncoordinated movements of the arms and the leg, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, difficulty with fine motor tasks like eating or buttoning a shirt, and nystagmus.


Diagnosis is suspected when there are concerning signs and symptoms that indicate cerebellar injury (poorly gait, hand-finger movements). It is diagnosed on a physical examination and medical history. The diagnosis may be completed by genetic testing, MRI and CT scans of the brain and spinal cord as well spinal tap.


There is no cure for ataxia, treatment is mostly supportive and focuses on relieving the symptoms. Gait abnormalities are treated with special medication. Physical therapy is recommended to strengthen the muscles and adaptive devices may be recommended for walking, eating and speaking.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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