Friday, December 22, 2006

Health Tip: Understanding Ataxia

12.22.06, 12:00 AM ET

(HealthDay News) -- Ataxia, a Greek word meaning incoordination, describes a class of nervous system conditions that cause people to have uncontrolled movement of the limbs, face and body.
Ataxia may be inherited, or it can be brought on by other diseases or conditions.

According to the National Ataxia Foundation, the most frequent symptoms include problems with balance; poor coordination of arms, legs and hands; slurred speech; difficulty walking; and difficulty eating or writing. Hereditary ataxias can lead to deadly symptoms including difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Ataxia can also be a symptom of other conditions, including stroke, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, or an injury to the head, the foundation says.