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What are the signs and symptoms of ataxia?
The symptoms of ataxia will depend upon what part of the brain or body is affected. Common symptoms all involve lack of coordination:
Difficulty walking with an unsteady gait, which is often wide-based and staggering. This can lead to stumbling and falling.
Speech may be slurred and slow with an unusual rhythm to the words.
Swallowing may be difficult and the patient may choke, especially when drinking liquids.
Difficulty using the hands and fingers to button shirts, or pick up a fork or spoon to eat. Writing, keyboarding, sewing, and playing an instrument can be affected.
Nystagmus is the term used to describe rapid involuntary eye movements where the eyes jerk back and forth. This can cause blurred vision and difficulty reading or moving the eyes from one word to the next.
Fatigue is a common complaint, likely because the muscles of the body have to work harder to overcome the lack of coordination to perform their daily activities.