Imagine being asked to leave an airplane or being denied access into an establishment because you seem intoxicated despite not having a single sip of alcohol. This can be routine for people suffering from the condition known as Ataxia. Ataxia is the name of the condition that is given to the neurological disease responsible for the loss of control and lack of coordination of your muscles. It affects peoples’ abilities to talk, walk, and use their fine motor skills. The symptoms can mimic actions commonly associated with being intoxicated which is why someone without knowledge of Ataxia can mistake people suffering from it for being drunk. Sufferers may slur words or stumble while walking and even fall. They typically utilize a wide stance while trying to maintain balance. Often, people with Ataxia require the use of wheelchairs or walkers to help with their movement. Ataxia can affect the torso, one side of the body, the whole body, or one limb. The most common causes for Ataxia range from a stroke or tumor to a hereditary disorder. Multiple sclerosis is also known to cause Ataxia.
Ataxia is neurological and has no effect on muscle strength. If you were to test every muscle individually there would be no difference from somebody who doesn’t have Ataxia. It strictly affects balance and coordination.While there are no treatments, patients can benefit from occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Visit the National Ataxia Foundation at https://ataxia.org to learn more.