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Ataxia is a lack of muscle control during conscious movements. Ataxia is a sign of an underlying condition and can affect body movement, eye movements, speech and swallowing.
People with ataxia have difficulty with coordination because the sections of the nervous system that regulate movement and balance are affected.
There are several types of ataxias, including those that are hereditary and develop over many years, and those that are irregular and begin later in life with no family history of the disease.
Many conditions can cause ataxia, including a stroke, a tumor, cerebral palsy, chickenpox, multiple sclerosis, alcohol abuse, a bad reaction to a drug, and not enough vitamin E or vitamin B12. Additionally, diseases that damage the spinal cord and peripheral nerves can cause ataxia.