What is Friedreich ataxia?
Friedreich ataxia, or FA, is a genetic condition that affects the nervous system and causes problems with voluntary movement and coordination (ataxia). People with Friedreich ataxia gradually lose their strength and feeling in their arms and legs; develop stiffness in their muscles (spasticity); and have slow, slurred speech (dysarthria). Some people who have Friedreich ataxia can develop a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition where part of the heart wall becomes thickened. This can cause the heart to not work the way it should and can be dangerous if not treated and managed correctly. Approximately two out of every three people who have FA will develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Symptoms of FA typically begin between the ages of 10-15. Most individuals develop symptoms before age 25. There is also a late onset form of Friedreich ataxia where symptoms develop after the age of 25.
SOURCE: Emory University - Department of Human Genetics in collaboration with ThinkGenetic • https://www.thinkgenetic.com/diseases/friedreich-ataxia/overview/9316 • DATE UPDATED: 2016-06-04