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Sensory ataxia Symptoms, Causes, Test, Treatment


Ataxia is a term means dis-coordination and the term sensory ataxia means dis-coordination in senses. This coordination is not caused due to dysfunction of cerebral region but it occurs when there is problem in sensory input towards control center of movement. Sensory ataxia is a different condition from cerebellar ataxia. As in sensory ataxia, normal coordination of nearside is present and is observed visually by the patient himself. Shutting of eyes indicates worsening of sensory ataxia. Associated features like pendular tendon and broken pursuit eye movements are not present in sensory ataxia which differentiate it from cerebellar ataxia.

Sensory ataxia Symptoms

There is loss of sensation in sensory ataxia so patient is not able to move his limbs according to his will and as a result patient have unsteady gait and posture. Sometimes stomping gait also occurs. When patient tries to walk around, there are chances of striking foot hard on ground and this state is sometimes known as “walking on pillows”. Pain may also occur in limbs. With these states mentioned above, patient is more closely dependent on visual information he gets to move around in environment. As a result of unsteadiness and imbalance body becomes more pronounced.

Sensory ataxia Symptoms, Causes, Test, Treatment

Sensory ataxia Causes

Sensory ataxia is the loss of coordination due to problem in nerves providing information to control center of movement. Nerves which are present in spinal cord or nerves which supply information to limbs i.e. hands and feet may get damaged and as a result sensory ataxia occurs. This damage in nerves may also occur due to systemic diseases like multiple sclerosis, diabetes and compression in spinal cord. Damage may also occur due to increased exposure to toxins which include mercury, lead and arsenic. But causes behind sensory ataxia do not end here, there are many other reason along with these mentioned above.

Sensory ataxia Test

Before starting any treatment plan, it should be the 1st priority to confirm disease and its level of severity. For diagnosis of sensory ataxia, past medical history of patient is important. A complete conversation about disease is also of help in diagnosing disease and its root cause. Physical examination is also performed to check the functioning of limbs i.e. hands and feet. A blood test and a nerve conduction study is performed and it is checked that how well these nerves carry signals from limbs to brain and from brain to limbs and conduct them.

Sensory ataxia Treatment

Every treatment plan is designed to lower the symptoms of regarding disease, increasing chances of independence, stop progression of damage to nerves and reduce the associated risks. Sometimes treatment is required to treat the root cause behind disease. For treatment of sensory ataxia a specialist or occupation related therapist is needed. Routine life of patient is made better with some life style modifications and physical therapy. Physiotherapy helps in increasing mobility of limbs i.e. hands and foot according to patients will. Some medications are also prescribed to reduce the pain occurring in nerves (damaged nerves).

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