Ataxia – Treatment of Ataxia
Ataxia is a disorder of the nervous system where the cerebellum is damaged which may affect the speech, eye movements, ability to swallow and walking. Although ataxia cannot be cured, we can try to ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life in those people suffering from ataxia. Adaptive devices can be used to help the patient be independent. Cane, walker, wheelchair, or a walker can be used by the patient.
Treatment for Ataxia
The treatment for ataxia includes:
- In this type of therapy the patient is helped in managing the house and work equally in a better way.
- This includes wheelchair assessment and making the kitchen and other rooms in the house more practical for the patient.
- The speech therapist emphasizes on problems like coughing, swallowing, speech disorders and choking problems.
- Speech aids are taught to the patient if he has problems in speech.
- The speech therapist may advise you to do exercises as they strengthen the muscles that are used while speaking.
- Breathing techniques may be advised to improve the speech of the patient.
- In some ataxic patients we find a curvature in the spine called scoliosis.
- Orthopedic care is to help the patients suffering from scoliosis.
Two main goals can be achieved if the patient is advised physiotherapy by the doctor. They include:
- It prevents the muscles from getting rigid.
- It also prevents the muscles from getting weaker.
- The therapist may teach you many exercises that can be done to strengthen the muscles.
- Braces can be used to the leg or arm to stretch your muscles.
- People who suffer from ataxia become frustrated and depressed.
- A psychotherapist can be consulted and provide counseling to the patient.
Nutrition and Supplements
- People suffering from ataxia usually are sensitive to gluten, so a gluten-free diet is recommended.
- They may have vitamin-E deficiency and for this vitamin-E supplements can be given to the patient after consulting the health care provider.
Coping and Support
- The challenges that ataxic patients face may make them feel dependent, depressed and anxious.
- Support groups are a good source as they encourage and understand people suffering from such condition and make them vent their feelings out.
- Support groups like the Ataxia National Foundation conducts and find new cure in such neurological conditions.