Friedreich Ataxia (FA)
Type of disease: Rare conditions
Friedreich ataxia is an inherited condition that affects the nervous system and causes movement problems. People with this condition develop impaired muscle coordination (ataxia) that worsens over time. Other features include the gradual loss of strength and sensation in the arms and legs, muscle stiffness (spasticity), and impaired speech. Many individuals often have a form of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Some people develop diabetes, impaired vision, hearing loss, or an abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis). Most people with Friedreich ataxia begin to experience the signs and symptoms around puberty. This condition is caused by mutations in the FXN gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.