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Huntington's disease

Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that leads to the gradual deterioration of brain cells. It’s a rare condition but has a profound impact on the affected individual’s life.

The degeneration of brain cells results in problems with physical movements, cognitive abilities, and mental health.

Huntington’s disease affects a wide range of a person’s functional abilities, causing both physical and mental struggles.

People with Huntington’s disease can receive expert diagnosis and specialized treatment at Neurology One under the supervision of the best neurologists in Orlando.  Our team have been committed to care for people with Huntington’s disease, and have been leaders creating HD Centers of Excellence. 

Huntington’s disease symptoms can emerge at any stage of life. However, they commonly show up in individuals between their 30s and 40s. If the manifestation occurs prior to 20 years old, it is referred to as juvenile Huntington’s disease. The symptoms in early-onset cases are distinct, and the progression of the disease is usually more rapid.

Symptoms

Movement disorders

Huntington’s disease can affect movement, thinking, and mental health in different ways, and everyone experiences it differently. Some symptoms may be more severe at first, but they can change over time as the disease progresses.

The impairment of voluntary movements — instead of involuntary movements— may have a greater effect on the ability to perform daily activities, interact with others, and function independently.

Cognitive disorders

Huntington’s disease is associated with cognitive impairments such as:

Psychiatric disorders

Huntington’s disease is most commonly associated with depression. Huntington’s disease diagnosis wasn’t simply the cause of this reaction. Instead, brain injury and alterations in brain function contribute to depression. Symptoms may include:

In addition to these disorders, there are other ones as follows:

Aside from the above disorders, It is common for people with Huntington’s disease to lose weight as the disease progresses.

Symptoms of juvenile Huntington's disease

Younger people may experience Huntington’s disease differently than adults. An early stage of the disease is characterized by the following problems:

Behavioral changes

Physical changes

How is it inherited?

A faulty gene leads to Huntington’s disease, which gradually damages parts of the brain.

There is usually only a chance that you will develop it if either of your parents has or has had it. Women and men can both get it.

In the case of a parent who carries the Huntington’s disease gene:

In rare cases, Huntington’s disease can be acquired without having a family history of it. 

However, this is most likely due to the fact that one of your parents never had it diagnosed.

When to see a Neurologist?

Multiple conditions can cause the signs and symptoms of Huntington’s disease. This is why it is important to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.

Consult your doctor if:

Your Neurologist may refer you for tests to check for Huntington’s disease.

Treatment and support

Huntington’s disease is incurable and has no cure or treatment at present.

But support and treatment can alleviate some problems caused by it, including:

Help with Everyday task

If you have Huntington’s disease, daily activities such as eating., moving around the house, and dressing can be challenging.

If you are having difficulty doing a particular activity, your occupational therapist can help you find another way to do it.

To make things easier for you, they can suggest household improvements and equipment.

These can include:

Help with eating and communication

If you are having difficulty communicating or eating due to Huntington’s disease, a speech and language therapist and a dietitian can assist you.

A few examples of what they can advise are:

  • A picture chart or an electronic speech device can be used as an alternative method of communication
  • Weight loss can be prevented with a high-calorie diet
  • How to make chewing and swallowing food easier
  • Some people may require a stomach-directed feeding tube.

Help with movement and balance problems

Staying active is important if you have Huntington’s disease. Your mental and physical health can be improved by doing this.

When you have balance and coordination problems, regular walking with the help of an aid like a walking stick can be very helpful.

Movement problems can also be helped by a physiotherapist.

It is possible that they will recommend things such as:

The best neurologists in Orlando, including clinically trained neurologists and specialists in movement disorders, offer expertise on Huntington’s disease.