What is Friedreich’s ataxia?

by Patrick Knox

Friedreich’s Ataxia is a recessive, life shortening genetic condition which is degenerative and it affects the central nervous system. So it eventually affects co-ordination as well as balance. Usually the onset of the condition is between 4 and 16 years of age, but occasionally it can be between 18 months and 21 years. The first symptom will often be dysarthria. The other symptoms may include a progressive worsening of balance and also coordina­tion. The loss of bal­ance is known as ataxia. It may res­ult in scoli­osis or curvature of the spine. It may also cause a car­di­ovas­cu­lar myopathy with enlarge­ment of the heart.

The symp­toms I have out­lined above will def­in­itely be present but how ser­i­ous they will be depends upon the envir­on­ment in which the per­son lives as well as the help offered and the help accep­ted. Prob­able symp­toms include wheel­chair use, blind­ness, deaf­ness, loss of cir­cu­la­tion to the extremities.

There is no actual pat­tern in which these symp­toms appear nor do these symp­toms appear after any set period of time.

At present my con­di­tion is quite bad. I have got scoli­osis, car­di­ovas­cu­lar myopathy, loss of bal­ance coordin­a­tion, and I am quite blind, and also show­ing signs of begin­ning deaf­ness, but I can still enjoy things like travel, immers­ing myself in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, try­ing new fruits and drinks, meet­ing people, and good company.

Wikipedia article