Balancing work, family, health, and hobbies is a major task for anyone to undertake. But balancing all those things while your actual body balance and coordination is beginning to deteriorate is even more difficult. The National Ataxia Foundation is dedicated to searching for a cure, helping patients who have ataxia, and helping families who need support as they struggle with this diagnosis and symptoms. Donate a Car has paired up with the National Ataxia Foundation in Texas to take your car donation and ensure that those funds go to help those who struggle with this disease.
What is Ataxia?
Ataxia, as a word, is used to describe any loss of coordination and bodily control or balance. This symptom can be caused by various diseases and conditions that may or may not be chronic. Ataxia, the disease, is a hereditary or sporadic degenerative disease of the nervous system. Dominant Ataxia disease often show up in adults, sometimes as young as in the twenties, but often not until people are well into their sixties. Recessive Ataxia can begin in childhood. There is currently no cure for ataxia and no medications that treat it directly. But there are medicines and therapies that can help improve quality of life.
For patients living with Ataxia, every day is a balancing act. The physical challenges of the disease can make work and daily living skills difficult. With physical and occupational therapy, patients can help fight the deterioration and maintain as much control of their body as possible.
Emotionally, it is frustrating when you feel that your body has betrayed you. Many patients with ataxia find it beneficial to seek out a support group, counseling, or therapy to deal with the emotional difficulty of losing control of your body.
How You Can Help
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ataxia, there are a few steps you can take to help you deal with the physical and emotional effects of this disease. Here they are:
- Develop a care plan: determine who your medical team players are BEFORE you need them.
- Exercise: exercise is a key factor in maintaining as much bodily control as possible.
- Good Diet: a healthy diet plays a big role in how you feel.
- Educate Yourself: don’t stay in the dark about your disease. Study, ask questions, and read as much as you can to understand what you are up against.
- Communicate Effectively: this is YOUR life, be your own best advocate. This means learning to communicate with your care team in a way that respects everyone’s contribution while getting you the care you feel you need.
- Learn Coping Strategies: coping well isn’t something that happens on accident. It requires learning and practicing good coping skills.
- Learn Your Options: Learn what resources you have in your community and online. Make use of the resources you have.