Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.
Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.
Ataxia is a symptom of 100s of neurologic diseases. Cerebellar ataxia is one type of ataxia that occurs due to a problem in the cerebellum, one of the structures in the brain involved in coordination (among other things). There are several causes of cerebellar ataxia and whether or not the ataxia can be treated depends on the cause. Below, a few types of ataxias will be discussed but this list is by no means comprehensive.
In general, ataxias could be divided into a few groups (1) those with a known external cause such as alcoholism or other medications or drugs (2) those that occur following infection (3) those that are neurodegenerative, due to loss of cerebellar cells because of a primary abnormality in cerebellar cells as opposed to an external cause such as infection (4) due to an inborn error metabolism and/or a genetic defect that disrupts metabolism in cerebellar cells (5) those that occur in the setting of cancer, known as "paraneoplastic ataxias", and (6) others
Regarding the cerebellar ataxias due to an external cause, in some cases symptoms resolve (sometimes physical therapy is needed). In some patients, cerebellar ataxia occurs following an infection that affects the nervous system, in which case it often resolves. Chronic alcoholism can cause cerebellar ataxia; stopping alcohol intake can improve the ataxia but if it is severe, some permanent symptoms may remain. In patients with cerebellar stroke, with intensive physical and occupational therapy over weeks to months, symptoms may become minimal and may even resolve completely. In patients with cerebellar ataxia due to a tumor in the cerebellum, removal of the tumor often improves ataxia significantly, though some remaining symptoms may persist due to removal of normal cerebellar tissue following surgery. And so on.
Regarding agent orange, it has been associated with pulmonary, dermatological, congenital, neural, etc problems. Since you are veteran, I would suggest you follow up with a VA physician. I do highly suggest you look for other causes of ataxia.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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