Difference Between Ataxia and Dystaxia

What is Ataxia and Dystaxia?

Ataxia is defined as a degenerative disease in which a person experiences lack of coordination and impaired balance. This usually happens because of damage to brain, brain muscles or nerves. Dystaxia is a mild form of ataxia, in which there is mild shakiness in the movement due to some low level of damage to the brain. 

Similarity

Both are degenerative diseases.

Ataxia

Ataxia means ‘without coordination’ and it is defined as a degenerative disease caused by issues in the central nervous system. When an individual has ataxia, he will feel discomfort in moving his body parts and the legs and arm muscles will start shaking beyond your control. 

Dystaxia

It is also termed as partial ataxia or a mild form of ataxia that affects coordination and movement. It is one of the ways ataxia can impact body and the behavior. Its symptoms include mild shaky limb movements and unsteady gait.

Difference between Ataxia and Dystaxia

Definition

Ataxia

It is a neurological disorder that involves presence of abnormal, uncoordinated or impaired movements.

Dystaxia

Mild form of ataxia in which there is mild problem of impaired movement and unsteady gait

Symptoms

Ataxia

The symptoms of ataxia include

  • Heart problems
  • Trouble in walking
  • Decreasing coordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Vision problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Impaired balance with frequent falls

Dystaxia

The symptoms of dystaxia include

  • Mild trouble in walking
  • Mild problems in vision
  • Mild speech issues

Treatment

Ataxia

There is no cure as such to treat ataxia. But treating the underlying cause for example tumour could help to a certain degree.

Dystaxia

No treatment since it is a mild form of ataxia

Summary

The points of difference between Ataxia and Dystaxia have been summarized as below:

FAQ 

What are the 3 types of Ataxia?

The 3 types of ataxia include – proprioceptive ataxia, cerebellar ataxia and vestibular ataxia.

What is the difference between apraxia and ataxia?

Ataxia means a neurological disorder/movement disorder in which the coordination of muscles is lost. Whereas apraxia, is defined as the difficulty with skilled movement or inability to execute desired movements which have already been adopted by the person. It is caused by the brain damage or disease. 

In apraxia, there is difficulty with motor planning to execute tasks or movements due to inability to understand commands.

What causes Dystaxia?

Causes are varied depending on the symptoms. The condition is usually caused by damage or harm to a part of the brain termed as the cerebellum. Other causes include mild issues associated with:

  • Brain tumor
  • Damage to the spinal cord or other nerves
  • Deficiency of vitamin B12
  • Genetic defect
  • Trauma
  • Thyroid problems – (Hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism) 
  • COVID-19 infection 

What is Dysmetric?

A person is dysmetric if he experiences lack of coordination in movement and when pulse and the step are incorrect size. It is an error in orbit because of an abnormal rate, range, and/or force of motion. Dysmetria happens when there are lesions on your cerebellum. Symptoms include – tremors, the inability to control muscle movements, and ataxia.

What is the difference between chorea and ataxia?

Unlike ataxia, which impacts the voluntary movements quality, or Parkinsonism and is not present at rest, chorea involves – involuntary (occurring on their own), non-rhythmic, brief, unpredictable, abrupt and non-stereotyped movements resulting from continuous flow of muscle contractions from one muscle group to another resulting in jerky or dance like movements. 

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Written by : Dr. Amita Fotedar -Dr.
and updated on 2022, February 7

References :

[0]Albin, R. L. (2003). Dominant ataxias and Friedreich ataxia: an update. Current opinion in neurology, 16(4), 507-514.

[1]Ashizawa, T., & Xia, G. (2016). Ataxia. Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology, 22(4 Movement Disorders), 1208.

[2]Sanders, W. R. (1865). Case of an unusual form of nervous disease, dystaxia or pseudo-paralysis agitans, with remarks. Edinburgh medical journal, 10(11), 987.

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