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Ataxia--Is it a Diagnosis or a Symptom???
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WELCOME to the ATAXIA COMMUNITY: This Patient-To-Patient Community is for discussions relating to Ataxia, which occurs when parts of the nervous system that control movement are damaged. People with ataxia experience a failure of muscle control in their arms and legs, resulting in a lack of balance and coordination or a disturbance of gait.

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Ataxia--Is it a Diagnosis or a Symptom???

Hello everyone,

I have been fairly active in the MS community as I have had neurological symptoms.  I have two lesions on my brain. None in c-spine, and I haven't received the results of my t-spine MRI yet.

I recently was transferred to a job location where I would have to walk a considerable distance from my vehicle to my building.  I told my neurologist about this and he did issue me a temporary handicapped placard and on the paperwork he put "Ataxia."  I do have unsteady gait and varying levels of vertigo.  Sometimes I cut corners too sharply and run into the wall, and I somehow manage to bump into doorknobs a lot!

So, my question is...is Ataxia an actual diagnosis of something, or is it a symptom of something else?

Thank you very much,

Minnie
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HI  Minnie,

annd   very good question!
I  am glad your doctor has listened to youu   and did his job getting you set with the parking placard. Safety and  energy saving can  be key for getting through your day. Running into things .. ouch!

Well, this can   be a very indepth topic for     sure.
Ataxias can be disease itself. There are types that are can be recognized genetic such as the SCA's (Spinocerebellar Ataxia) and Fredrick's Ataxia, among others.  And some are idiopathic and spontanious including but not limited to OPCA (Olivopontocelebellar Ataxia), MSA (Multiple System Atrophy) and Gluten Ataxia.
They have identified more and more of the SCA's through the years, and still learning.

Now, ataxia can be a symptom or other neurological disease  process   like MS and evenn side effect of drugs.
Trying to figure it all ouut and determine what is happening can take a long time. A cluue can be in the MRI with the cerebellum atrophy (shrinking).
Oh yea, even excessivve drinking  and alcoholism can cause atrophy and ataxia.

Lesions from MS in the cerebellum can cause ataxia for sure ( that would be a symptom). Where does your doctor sayy yours are? It can take a well trained radiologist and/or   neuro to regognise actual atrophy. Through all my MRI (many many many!) the radiologistshave  never mentioned the atrophy it on my reports, which really is  plain to see  when my neuros show me.

Is the neuro you see is a MS specialist? There are   very few movement disorder specialist, and very feew of them specialize in Ataxia. In time if you do not get the answers you deserve that maybe an option.

I hope it make any more sence, and   if I ccan help with more  questions.
Take care and    be suuure to stay safe. Amo




3 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
HI  Minnie,

annd   very good question!
I  am glad your doctor has listened to youu   and did his job getting you set with the parking placard. Safety and  energy saving can  be key for getting through your day. Running into things .. ouch!

Well, this can   be a very indepth topic for     sure.
Ataxias can be disease itself. There are types that are can be recognized genetic such as the SCA's (Spinocerebellar Ataxia) and Fredrick's Ataxia, among others.  And some are idiopathic and spontanious including but not limited to OPCA (Olivopontocelebellar Ataxia), MSA (Multiple System Atrophy) and Gluten Ataxia.
They have identified more and more of the SCA's through the years, and still learning.

Now, ataxia can be a symptom or other neurological disease  process   like MS and evenn side effect of drugs.
Trying to figure it all ouut and determine what is happening can take a long time. A cluue can be in the MRI with the cerebellum atrophy (shrinking).
Oh yea, even excessivve drinking  and alcoholism can cause atrophy and ataxia.

Lesions from MS in the cerebellum can cause ataxia for sure ( that would be a symptom). Where does your doctor sayy yours are? It can take a well trained radiologist and/or   neuro to regognise actual atrophy. Through all my MRI (many many many!) the radiologistshave  never mentioned the atrophy it on my reports, which really is  plain to see  when my neuros show me.

Is the neuro you see is a MS specialist? There are   very few movement disorder specialist, and very feew of them specialize in Ataxia. In time if you do not get the answers you deserve that maybe an option.

I hope it make any more sence, and   if I ccan help with more  questions.
Take care and    be suuure to stay safe. Amo




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3054080_tn?1358726456
Thank you so much for your very thorough and prompt response!

I know that one of my lesions is in the right frontal lobe. The other looks like it is closer to that middle butterfly shaped place. It isn't on my report, the neurologist showed it to me at a follow up appointment. I will have to ask him what that area is called.

I had a lumbar puncture done back in December and am finally getting the results. Apparently I has taken me so long to get my results because my neurologist is not associated with the same hospital where my insurance would pay for me to have it done. I have requested the results for myself and if my neurologist doesn't have them by my appointment next week then I will, of course, give them to him.

I again appreciate your taking the time to read and reply. I will come backas I gget more information and share in the hopes that it could help someone else.

Thank you very much and blessings to you,
Minnie :)
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3054080_tn?1358726456
Oh, I forgot to mention about my vision. I have adult onset Convergence Insufficiency and refractive diplopia. From what I gather, that can cause perioception (sp) problems.

My neurologist is also supposed to be reviewing my t-spine MRI results with me.

He is not officially listed as an MS specialist, yet he treats a lot of people who haveMS, including a family friend and a coworker. I like him a lot, but his ooffice staff, while nice, seem to be a bit disorganized.

I also signed up through the hospital to see my online record, but it says some of them aren't visible because they are "sensitive." Since my neurologist's office couldn't get the results before my previously scheduled follow up, I decided to do the paperwork to get them for myself. I needed to do that anyway because I want to have my own copies of everything.

Again, thank you very much and be blesse ,

Hugs, Minnie :)
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