Some types of ataxia affect children from an early age, while other types may not develop until much later in adulthood.
Depending on the type of ataxia, the symptoms may stay the same, get progressively worse,or slowly improve.
Some of themain types of ataxia are describedbelow. Read about the causes of ataxia for information aboutwhy these different types of ataxia develop.
Friedreich's ataxia is the most common type of hereditary ataxia (caused by genes you've inherited). It's thought to affect at least 1 in every 50,000 people.
Symptoms usually first develop before the age of 25, although it can develop in people much older than this.
Signs and symptomsof Friedreich's ataxia can include:
The symptoms ofFriedreich's ataxia usually get gradually worse over many years. People with the condition tend tohave a shorter life expectancy than normal. Many people live until at least their 30s, and somecan live into their 60s or beyond.
Ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) is a rarer type of hereditary ataxia, affecting around1 in every 100,000 children. Symptoms usually begin in early childhood, although they can sometimes develop later.
Signs and symptoms of AT can include:
The symptoms of AT tend to get worse quite quickly. People with the condition usually live until the age of 19 to 25, although some may live into their 50s.
Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are agroup of hereditary ataxias that often don't begin until adulthood,affecting people from the ageof 25 up to 80, depending on the type of SCA. Occasionally, some types of SCA begin in childhood.
The symptoms vary depending on the type of SCA. They can include:
Ataxia UK hasmore detailed information about common subtypes of SCA .
Episodic ataxia is a rare and unusual type of hereditary ataxia where someone experiences episodes of ataxia, butthe rest of the time they have no or only mild symptoms.
During an episode, someone with episodic ataxia may experience:
Episodic ataxia usuallyfirst developsduring the teenage years. The episodes can last from several minutes to hours andare usually the result of certain triggers, such as sudden movement, stress, exercise, caffeine or alcohol.
The symptoms of episodic ataxiamaydisappear as a person gets older, although sometimesthe conditiongets gradually worse over time. Medication can often help control attacks, and life expectancy is usually normal.
There are also a number of other types of ataxia that tend to have similar symptoms to those mentioned above. These include:
Ataxia is the term for a group of disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech. Find out about the main types, what causes them, and how they're treated.
Read about some of the main types of ataxia, including when they develop and what the outlook is.
Read about the main causes of ataxia, including how some types are passed on to a child by their parents.