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Friedreich's ataxia

Friedreich's ataxia Causes

Friedreich's ataxia is inherited. It is a rare type of ataxia which is most common among its type. It affects 1 in every 50,000 people in the U.S.

Friedreich's ataxia Definition

Friedreich's Ataxia is inherited. It damages the body's nervous system, the damage being of a progressive nature. It was Nicholaus Friedreich who in the 1860's named the condition “Ataxia” to mean coordination problems like clumsiness and unsteadiness. Continual degeneration of nerve tissues in one's spinal cord causes it to thin overtime. This condition also affects nerves responsible for arm and leg muscle movements.

Friedreich's ataxia Diagnosis

Diagnosis may be through a thorough clinical examination. A full medical history needs to be documented and physical examination must be conducted carefully. Testing such as EMG and EKG may be required as well as MRI and CT scan.

Friedreich's ataxia Symptoms and Signs

Damages to the nervous system may cause speech problems, gait disturbance like unsteadiness and clumsiness, and heart problems. Difficulty to walk (gait ataxia) is the first one to usually appear. Other early signs are toe flexion, clubfoot, hammer toes, and foot inversion. Patients may suffer from muscle weakness and wasting, and various deformities may form. Patients may tire more often. Rapid and uncontrolled eye movements are also common. Most people develop scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

Friedreich's ataxia Treatment

There is still no current cure for this condition and no exact treatments are fully effective. Symptoms and complications may be treated but the condition itself is non treatable.

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