For people who do not know this, Huntington's disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes problems with the central nervous system. It typically afflicts adults, but the symptoms appear only in middle age. However, on rare occasions, there have been reports of young children and younger adults also getting it. This is an inherited disorder and symptoms include uncontrollable movements, memory loss, changes in the personality and also reduced mental capacity. After hearing about the symptoms, you may want to know who is prone to Huntington disease.
As mentioned, this is an inherited disorder. So, if you have the gene for the disease, you will be prone to it. Also, it should be noted that a person has fifty percent chance of receiving the mutated gene from his/her parents. The gene is an autosomal dominant gene and therefore, just a single gene is sufficient to cause the disease.
Typically, a person has 46 chromosomes, and inherits 23 from each parent. So, a person gets 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. There are 2 types of chromosomes, namely sex chromosomes that determine whether the fetus will be a male or a female, and autosomal chromosomes. As Huntington disease is caused due to an autosomal dominant gene, if a person has one gene, the disease will develop in him/her. However, the severity will not be as high compared to a person who has inherited two genes. Also, the disease can be present in both males as well as females, as it is not part of the sex chromosomes.
There are genetic tests available to check whether a person has inherited gene. If the person has the gene, there is a possibility that he/she could develop Huntington. However, as the person grows older and there are no symptoms of the disease, then the chances of developing the disease reduce by fifty percent. This also means that the chances of passing the mutated genes to offsprings also reduce. However, if a person has the symptoms of the disease and has children during that period, there is a fifty percent chance that the person will pass on the gene for Huntington disease to his/her offspring.
If there is an immediate family member suffering from Huntington disease, it is advisable to get a genetic test done. This will involve taking a blood sample and checking the DNA present in the blood for the mutated gene. If the gene is present, the person can decide whether to have children or not, as the risk of transferring the gene to them exists and this will make the children prone to Huntington disease. There is no cure for the disease as yet.
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