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What Is Huntington’s Disease?

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Huntington’s disease is a rare and complex disease due to heredity. The disease belongs to the neurological type. It can affect how a person moves, behaves, and thinks. Most often, the disease manifests itself in the middle of life and may worsen over time. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease.

Therapy, in most cases, is aimed at relieving symptoms. However, if the disease is diagnosed and the patient is treated in time, his quality of life with Huntington’s disease can be significantly improved. You can visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) website to learn more about the condition.

According to experts, one in every 10,000 people is affected by this disease. That equates to approximately 30,000 in the United States. About 16% of all cases of Huntington’s disease are juvenile. Huntington’s disease affects no particular population. The disease affects people of all races, nationalities, and people of both sexes.

This severe disease necessitates proper diagnosis and treatment to live the best life possible.

 

What Causes Huntington’s Disease?

Most often, this disease is the result of a problem in the huntingtin gene. A mutation in the gene causes the protein to be produced incorrectly, which eventually leads to problems with human brain cells. And this, in turn, leads to the appearance of symptoms of the disease.

Regarding inheritance, Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that if one parent has the mutated huntingtin gene, there is a 50 percent chance that their child will inherit it. If a person inherits the mutated gene, they will eventually develop Huntington’s disease. There is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease nor way to prevent its onset.

 

Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease?

Symptoms of huntington's disease

The symptoms of Huntington’s disease can be divided into three categories: 

  • Cognitive.
  • Psychiatric.
  • Motor.

Cognitive symptoms include problems with memory, reasoning, and judgment. People with Huntington’s disease may have trouble remembering recent events or acquiring new information. They may also have difficulty making decisions and planning for the future.

Psychiatric symptoms of Huntington’s disease include depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. People with the disease may also experience changes in personality and behavior. For example, they may become more withdrawn or aggressive.

Motor symptoms are the most visible signs of this condition. Huntington’s disease symptoms include involuntary movements called chorea as well as muscle rigidity and tremors. Chorea is often described as “jerky” movements that can be random and unpredictable while you experience Huntington’s disease. Muscle rigidity can make it difficult to move, and tremors can make it hard to keep still. As the disease progresses, these motor symptoms become more severe and can lead to complete disability.

 

Disorders of Movement

During an illness, a person may experience two types of movement disorders:

  • Involuntary.
  • Voluntary.

Among these traffic problems can include:

  • Random twitching and rolling-like movements.
  • Muscle problems.
  • Slow or unusual eye movements.
  • Incorrect gait, posture, or balance problems.
  • Problems while eating.

All these movements can significantly affect a person’s life, interfere with routine work, perform household activities, or communicate with people and do not need the help of people.

 

Dysfunctions

Also, during the disease, the following cognitive impairments can be caused:

  • Wrong priorities during selecting tasks for implementation, problems during organizational moments.
  • Fixation on one thought, strong perseverance.
  • Outbursts of anger and promiscuity due to lack of self-control.
  • Prolonged understanding of what is happening and the choice of words to describe.
  • Too slow learning new information.

 

Psychiatric Issues

Among the wide range of disorders that Huntington’s disease can cause is depression. Many believe that this is because the patient recognizes his diagnosis and, as a result, becomes depressed, but this is not the case. This is due to the fact that damage was caused in the brain, and changes were obtained in the function of the human brain. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Increased irritability, depressive mood, or complete indifference to everything.
  • Conscious isolation from society.
  • Lack of normal sleep.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • The desire to kill someone.

 

The following mental illnesses can also be attributed to the disease:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness whose main features are obsessions to repeat an action repeatedly, like checking a door 20 times before going outside.
  • Mania is characterized by elevated mood, excessive activity, impulsive behavior, and inflated self-esteem.
  • Alternating episodes of depression and mania characterize bipolar disorder.

In addition to the above disorders, people with Huntington’s disease often experience weight loss, especially as the disease progresses.

 

Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease in Children

Symptoms of huntington's disease in children

The onset and progression of Huntington’s disease in children may differ slightly from that in adults. Among the issues that frequently arise early in the course of the disease are:

  • Behavioral modifications.
  • Paying attention is difficult.
  • A significant drop in overall school performance occurred quickly.
  • Behavioral issues.
  • Physical modifications.
  • Muscles that are contracted and rigid affecting gait (especially in young children).
  • Tremors are involuntary movements that occur in the hands or feet.
  • Clumsiness or frequent falls.
  • Seizures.

Huntington’s disease is a progressive illness, which means that symptoms worsen over time. The rate at which Huntington’s disease progresses varies from person to person, but the average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 15 years. There is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease and no way to slow its progression. 

However, treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. If you or someone you know has Huntington’s disease, many resources are available to help.

 

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of Huntington’s disease, it’s essential to see a doctor. Early Huntington’s disease diagnosis and treatment can improve quality of life and may extend life expectancy. A doctor can provide support and resources to help you cope with the disease. If you’re concerned about your risk of Huntington’s disease, a genetic counselor can help you understand your risks and make informed decisions about your health.

 

Treatment of Huntington’s Disease

There is no cure for Huntington’s disease, but treatments available can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options include:

  • Medications to relieve symptoms such as involuntary movements, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Physical therapy to help maintain muscle strength and range of motion.
  • Occupational therapy to help with activities of daily living.
  • Speech therapy to help with communication difficulties.
  • Nutritional counseling to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Counseling and support groups to provide emotional support.

 

Prognosis

After a genetic test and disease confirmation, the prognosis for Huntington’s disease is generally poor. The disease is progressive, which means that symptoms worsen over time. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 15 years. There is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease and no way to slow its progression. However, treatment can help manage Huntington’s disease symptoms and improve quality of life. If you or someone you know has Huntington’s disease, many resources are available to help.

Huntington’s disease is a serious condition that can devastate the person with it and their loved ones. If you or someone you know is affected by Huntington’s disease, many resources are available to help.

 

Bottom Line 

As you can see, this is quite a serious disease that can affect many areas of our body. To save yourself or undergo a course of treatment, you should seek the help of professionals. For this, you can consider the LoneStar Neurology clinic. It is enough to call 214-619-1910 or use the special contact button. After that, our manager will contact you and provide further instructions.

 

FAQ

  • What type of disease is Huntington’s?

Huntington’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements, emotional issues, and cognitive decline (cognition). The most common form of this disorder, adult-onset Huntington’s disease, usually appears in a person’s thirties or forties.

  • What type of mutation is Huntington’s disease?

The HTT mutation causes Huntington’s disease and involves a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the DNA. This segment comprises three DNA building blocks that appear multiple times in a row (cytosine, adenine, and guanine).

  • What are the 5 stages of Huntington’s?

5 Stages of Huntington’s Disease are:

  1. Stage 1: Preclinical stage.
  2. Stage 2: Early stage.
  3. Stage 3: Middle stage.
  4. Stage 4: Late stage.
  5. Stage 5: End-of-life stage.
  • Is there a test for Huntington’s disease?

A genetic test using a blood sample will be performed to diagnose Huntington’s disease. This test is usually combined with a complete medical history and other neurological and laboratory tests.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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