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?
The symptoms of Huntington’s disease can be divided into three categories:
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 For example, they may become more withdrawn or aggressive.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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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:
- Stage 1: Preclinical stage.
- Stage 2: Early stage.
- Stage 3: Middle stage.
- Stage 4: Late stage.
- 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.