Signs And Symptoms Of Huntington Disease

Signs And Symptoms Of Huntington Disease

Huntington disease is a genetic disorder that is progressive in nature. Once the disease develops, it causes damage to the cells in the brain, namely in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia. These regions of the brain are responsible for personality, planning, movements and motivation. Usually, the disease tends to develop in a person's middle age, between the ages of thirty and fifty. However, at rare occasions, the disease may also be present in children and younger adults.


Previously, Huntington disease was referred to Huntington's chorea, where chorea meant involuntary and jerky movements. This is one of the primary symptoms of the disease. Usually, the initial signs and symptoms of Huntington disease are not given so much attention by a person, as they are relatively mild and even a person who does not have the disease may display similar symptoms. Nonetheless, signs and symptoms of the disease include tremors, having no concentration, being clumsy, being irritable, having problems with short term memories, mood swings, and depression.

If a person notices the aforementioned signs and symptoms of Huntington disease, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms tend to worsen and the affected person will require full time care. Furthermore, the symptoms are divided into three groups, namely physical, emotional and behavioral. In physical symptoms, the person will display involuntary movements and this causes problems in speaking, walking and swallowing. As the person will face difficulties in eating and drinking, he/she will tend to lose weight.

Emotional symptoms include depression due to the damage the disease causes to the brain cells. In addition, the person will display frustration, as he/she will not be able to perform tasks that they could do earlier, suffer from mood swings, become anti-social, be stubborn and may have fewer inhibitions.

The behavioral symptoms of Huntington disease include losing initiative and drive, and as a result the person comes across as being uninterested in life. The person may spend the entire day doing nothing and may also not take care of personal hygiene. The person will not be able to organize himself/herself, and as a result will be able to do just one task at a time. As the disease progresses, the person will suffer from loss of memory and will have reduced ability to understand spoken words. It has been seen that the behavioral symptoms of the disease tend to cause maximum distress to caregivers and family members, as the person becomes self centered and is leads to a strain in personal relationships.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Huntington Disease