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Ataxia and Stroke

by | Apr 23, 2024

For stroke patients affected by ataxia, understanding this neurological condition is crucial. Learn the symptoms and management strategies tailored for individuals navigating recovery from stroke.

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Introduction to Ataxia and Stroke

If you or someone you love has experienced a stroke, some complications can develop as a result, known as ataxia. This disorder is related to how your muscles work and odd movements resulting from this disorder. Below, you can find more information describing ataxia, symptoms of it, how it relates to a stroke, and how to move forward with it in your life.

When someone suffers a stroke, they can experience something known as ataxia, which can be some long-term damage to nerves and muscles and how your brain works to coordinate these different areas. Ataxia doesn’t always happen after a stroke, and it doesn’t mean that every person who is diagnosed suffered a stroke, but the majority of the cases are related.

 

Understanding Ataxia

 The most important thing to note about Ataxia is that there isn’t complete control over your coordination, and your body may move in ways you don’t intend, which can even be awkward for the body. You may want to move one way, but your body will do something that you didn’t mean to do.  Depending on what caused the ataxia, it can be either a symptom of something much larger or its condition due to genetics.

 

Types of Ataxia

If you’ve been diagnosed with Ataxia, three types can develop and be related to your health. While they all show similar symptoms of clumsiness, they are caused by different parts of the body and systems within. They include the following:

  • Sensory
  • Cerebellar
  • Vestibular

Sensory Ataxia

Because your body always knows where your limbs are, you can manage them naturally without seeing them. Sensory ataxia causes your brain to be unable to track your limbs properly, and you aren’t sure when or how to move them if you can’t see them.

Cerebellar Ataxia

If you’re diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia, your brain has communication issues, and it isn’t properly communicating with the different parts of your body. While you intend for your body to do a certain function, such as walking steadily, but you’re staggering because your body isn’t moving the right muscles, then you may be experiencing cerebellar ataxia.

Vestibular Ataxia

A nerve system is connected to your inner ear, and if you experience vestibular ataxia, you aren’t able to manage this system properly. You’ll find that you’re dizzy a lot and have issues with balance randomly while walking or even sitting.

Symptoms and Causes of Ataxia

Some common symptoms associated with ataxia are the inability to coordinate your body, difficulty walking or gait, slurred speech, and slowly deteriorating motor skills. Some of the symptoms that are not as common but related include abnormalities in the eyes, tremors, and some heart problems that develop after the common symptoms develop.

While having a stroke can cause ataxia, some other causes can develop, such as genetics, and these ataxias being hereditary, a symptom of an infection in different parts of the body, specifically the brain or inner ear, and head injuries that have caused extensive brain damage.

Diagnosis of Ataxia

Because many of these symptoms could be mild and related to a few different things, several steps are taken to determine if ataxia is what someone has. Specialists will perform several medical exams, and the person will undergo an MRI and CT scan to see if there are any issues in the brain area.

A history of genetic testing can be made and reviewed to see if ataxia is a factor in the person’s future. This will not be an immediate diagnosis; some patients will have to log symptoms for several weeks to see when they happen and how frequently.

The Impact of Ataxia on Stroke Survivors

When it comes to surviving ataxia following a stroke, there will be a treatment for this disorder added to therapy for the stroke. Medications are usually a part of this treatment to help with dizziness and developing coordination issues. Muscle spasms can also be managed with medication, and some physical therapy will help regain some of that control.

Those who are stroke survivors are having to take their life back one at a time slowly, so it’s important not to be overwhelmed during this treatment. Some ataxia may be reversed or reduced, but even if it can’t, there is hope for a good quality of life. Some things may look a little different in the future.

 

Empowering Stroke Patients with Ataxia

Giving back stroke patients their lives is vital after being diagnosed with ataxia. Physical therapy allows you to work on your movement and coordination to reduce the impact of the ataxia. Occupational therapy is a great way to gain control of daily activities and learn to do them in a more modified fashion. Even if you have to use modified tools, you can improve how you manage them and make things easier for you to remain independent and in control of your body.

Those who suffer from symptoms of difficulty in speech find positive treatment in speech therapy sessions to regain control and swallowing. Each person will have their own individual assessment and treatment plan based on the type of ataxia and its severity.

For those who will have ataxia indefinitely, at least some form of it, there are adaptive tools and equipment out there to improve your quality of life. For example, walking sticks help you manage your balance and coordination when you lose the ability.

There are also eating utensils that will help you save and enjoy your food so that you’re healthy and can enjoy a meal with others. For those who may suffer from speech symptoms with ataxia, there are also communication aids that can help you speak to others while you are out in public.

Reach Out to Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore for World-Class Care

It is vital to know what to expect with ataxia and how it can impact your life.  If you want more information or to schedule a consultation,  Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic will assist you with all your questions and needs. Contact us today for more information and to get your next appointment.

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Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore

Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation and arrange an appointment today with our stroke specialist.

 

Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

Stroke Resources

Stroke in Younger Adults: What You Need to Know

Most experts consider young stroke to pertain to individuals under the age of 45. Today, there is a growing trend of younger and middle-aged adults suffering from stroke. 

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We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. Come in for an easy consultation and further evaluation with our stroke specialist in Singapore at the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

Brain Aneurysm Resources

Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.