Huntington Disease Facts

Huntington Disease Facts

Huntington's disease is a rare genetic disorder wherein the nerve cells in the brain tend to waste away. This is an inherited disease, according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This basically means that for a child to get Huntington's disease, he/she must inherit the mutated gene. There is a fifty percent chance that a parent will pass on the Huntington disease gene to their offspring.  

 

Typically, the symptoms of Huntington's disease tend to manifest themselves when the person reaches middle age. However, there have been cases of children developing the case. It has been seen that the symptoms tend to progress faster in a younger person compared to a person who is middle aged or older. Some of the early symptoms of the disease include facing problems learning a new skill, suffering from depression and mood swings, having problems driving a car, and experiencing irritability. As the disease progresses, these symptoms tend to get worse and eventually the person will not be able to concentrate on anything, have problems speaking and will not be able to feed himself/herself.

Currently, there is no cure for Huntington's disease and just medications can be used to slow down the progress of the disease. There are also medications to treat the symptoms, but these can have side effects. Typically, if the person suffers from uncontrollable movements, the doctor will prescribe anti-seizure medication, while outbursts are controlled with the help of tranquilizers. These medications can include side effects, such as depression, fatigue, being highly excitable and restlessness. However, most of these side effects tend to reduce after some time. In case they do not, the doctor will prescribe some other medication.

If a person has been diagnosed with Huntington's disease, it is imperative that the person take steps to remain physically active. It has been observed that the disease progresses slowly in patients who are physically active compared to those who lead a sedentary and inactive life. Also, the person can do some physical therapy to help strengthen the body and prevent degeneration from progressing fast. It also allows a person to be independent and perform day-to-day tasks. Once the person begins to notice problems in speech, the doctor will recommend speech therapy.

Living with a disease like Huntington's is not easy, but with proper medical care, doing regular exercise, a person can lead a quality life and be independent as much as possible.

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Huntington Disease Facts