Symptoms of Ataxia
Balance problems and unsteadiness are the most common early symptoms of ataxia, and these usually progress over time until walking becomes so difficult that a wheelchair may become necessary for ambulation. Coordination is affected with shakiness and increased difficulty maneuvering movements of the arms and legs. Seemingly simple tasks such as holding a glass of water or a cup of coffee may become more and more difficult. Speech becomes thick or slurred, and there may be swallowing difficulties. There are often other disorders that affect those with ataxia, such as heart disease, diabetes, loss of hearing, spinal curvature abnormalities, and high-arched feet. Although these disorders are possible in those with ataxia, they are not seen in everyone affected.