Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Treating Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011 08:29 AM


Question: I am 82 years old and have spinocerebellar ataxia. I can no longer walk or even stand up. What is my life expectancy?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Spinocerebellar ataxia is a progressive neurological disorder. Even if a cause is identified, its symptoms cannot be reversed by medications. At age 82, you have already surpassed the average age of death for men and women, so every year you see is a gift. While you may be confined to a wheelchair, there is no reason not to be proactive with your health.

Maintain a healthy diet. Avoid toxins, tobacco, and alcohol. Use your antispasm medications wisely. Try to remain as active as possible. I find supervised aqua therapy to be the most effective exercise for patients like you. This will allow you to realize that you can find ways to remain active, though you will need assistance.

Try to maintain a positive outlook. Your emotional state will have a large impact on your longevity and your quality of life, so be sure to seek guidance if you need help. Your life expectancy varies individually. Realistically, it may range from one to 10 years, depending upon the severity of your present condition and your co-existing medical conditions.



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