Ataxia is an inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements. A
person with ataxia will appear to be off-balance when standing and unsteady or
staggering when walking.
The most common causes of ataxia are alcohol and drug use,
inflammation of the inner ear (labyrinthitis), and stroke. Ataxia can also be
caused by other problems, such as ear infections, benign paroxysmal positional
vertigo (BPPH), epilepsy, or nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy or
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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