friedreich's ataxia

by chase lennon

Friedreich's Ataxia is a disease that affects the nervous system, spine, muscles, hands, feet and heart which then makes it so you can not walk so you typically get put into a wheelchair. Also, the spine, feet and hands can become deformed. with Friedreich's Ataxia you typically die in your early or late 30's but in some rare cases you can get diagnosed with it in your early 70's.

Friedreich's Ataxia Research (FARA)

Someone with and someone without F.A

Someone with F.A-

  • Can not walk
  • Have a very difficult time breathing, seeing, and hearing
  • Will begin to loose all feeling in their body
  • Hands, feet may become deformed

Someone without F.A-

  • Can walk fine
  • They breathe, hear and see fine
  • Hands and feet do not become deformed

Target Population

The main age groups that are effected are young adults, children, and in some rare occasions older adults. Males and females are equally likely to get diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia. Friedreich's Ataxia is not specific to a certin race.
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Friedreich's Ataxia is passed down by family, when both of the parents have it in their genes their child/children are most likely going to get it. People with only one alternated copy of the gene are called carriers (when only one of their parents have it).


Being diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia requires a very careful examination, first the doctors will look through your medical record. They then do a physical exam, during the physical exam they look for balance difficulty, then loss of sensation and no reflexes. Then, they take blood samples and run tests on your blood and take x-rays. Then they look at your eyes to see if there is any damage.

Signs + Symptoms

  • No reflexes
  • Loss in balance
  • Change in vision
  • Muscles weakness
  • Foot problems
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There currently is no cure, but doctors and scientists are trying to find a cure.


I know a girl Ashley who is in her late 20s. She was diagnosed two years ago, she has it very badly that she can not hear, see or walk. I selected to learn about Friedreich's Ataxia because I thought I should learn more about this disease because I know someone with it.