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.