Progression, rate of deterioration, can vary enormously from person to person, to the point where even people in the same family and diagnosed with the same type can be challenged differently. Apart from the genetic types, some people have ataxia which progresses slowly over a number of years, gathering symptoms along the way. There are others who experience Late Onset Ataxia, and find symptoms can quickly accumulate and progress.
My own journey has taken a number of years, I started experiencing Deja Vu and noticing balance problems in my mid 40s, and after having a seizure in my sleep, was diagnosed with Epilepsy. Several years later eye problems set in, I had Iritis and went on to have Nystagmus and double vision. At the same time balance was becoming worse.
In due course I was referred to a Neurologist Opthamologist who was very helpful, initially Prisms were tried to alleviate double vision, then a Botox injection into the eye muscle, and finally Strabismus Surgery, this had the greatest positive effect I had no further need for Prisms.
Balance continued to deteriorate, I started having falls and because of my young age, my GP was at a loss to explain why. I was sent for a Tilt Table Test, the immediate after effect left me feeling extremely drunk my legs wouldn’t support me and I found it hysterically funny. This resulted in me being sent for an MRI, Cerebellar Atrophy was visible, the diagnosis of Epilepsy dismissed, and replaced by Idiopathic Cerebellar Ataxia. That was in 2011, I’d fought for almost 15yrs to get a proper diagnosis.
Now, I need to use either a walking stick or rollator for safety outside my home. My eye problems have reoccured (possibly Cataracts) and I’m waiting to see a Specialist. Fatigue can be overwhelming, I often fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Speech can be variable, either good or embarrassingly slurry, I forget words or use inappropriate ones I frequently choke, not just on food and drink, more often than not on my own saliva. My latest worrisome symptoms are pain and stiffness, for years I’d read about other people referring to these and thought I’d escaped
If necessary there are medications available to try…
Google ‘ataxia.org Medications for Ataxia Symptoms’ to see a link.