Friedreich's Ataxia Information Page - Article FA - Friedreich ataxia; FRDA; Friedreich ataxia; Hereditary spinal ataxia; Hereditary Spinal Sclerosis; Spinocerebellar Ataxia, Friedreich
Article: Friedreich's Ataxia Information Page
What is Friedreich's Ataxia?
Friedreich's ataxia is an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system resulting in symptoms ranging from muscle weakness and speech problems to heart disease. Ataxia results from the degeneration of nerve tissue in the spinal cord and of nerves that control muscle movement in the arms and legs. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 5 and 15 but can appear as early as 18 months or as late as 30 years of age. The first symptom is usually difficulty in walking. The ataxia gradually worsens and slowly spreads to the arms and then the trunk. Foot deformities such as clubfoot, flexion (involuntary bending) of the toes, hammer toes, or foot inversion (turning in) may be early signs. Rapid, rhythmic, involuntary movements of the eyeball are common. Most people with Friedreich's ataxia develop scoliosis (a curving of the spine to one side), which, if severe, may impair breathing. Other symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Doctors diagnose Friedreich's ataxia by performing a careful clinical examination, which includes a medical history and a thorough physical examination. Several tests may be performed, including electromyogram (EMG) and genetic testing.
Is there any treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What research is being done?
Select this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.
|Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) |
2001 Jefferson Davis Hwy.
Arlington, VA 22202
|Genetic Alliance |
4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008-2369
Tel: 202-966-5557 800 336-GENE (4363)
|Muscular Dystrophy Association |
3300 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718-3208
Tel: 520-529-2000 800-572-1717
|National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) |
2600 Fernbrook Lane
Minneapolis, MN 55447-4752
|National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) |
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
|National Society of Genetic Counselors |
233 Canterbury Drive
Wallingford, PA 19086-6617
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Cache Date: December 16, 2004