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Transcript of Huntington's Disease
No treatments can alter the course of Huntington's disease. But medications can lessen some symptoms of movement and psychiatric disorders. And multiple interventions can help a person adapt to changes in his or her abilities for a certain amount of time. Also, drugs to treat some symptoms may result in side effects that worsen other symptoms. Medications for movement disorders include:
Tetrabenazine, and Antipsychotic drugs
; Medications for psychiatric disorders include:
Antidepressants, Antipsychotic drugs, and Mood-stabilizing drugs,
other things that help are
Psychotherapy, Speech therapy, Physical therapy, and Occupational therapy.
Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination, causes the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and leads to cognitive decline and dementia, which is madness or insanity. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary squirming movements called chorea, and indeed the condition used to be called Huntington's chorea.
Huntington's Disease is caused by a defective gene. It is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person needs only one copy of the defective gene to develop the disorder. A parent with a defective Huntington gene could pass along the defective copy of the gene or the healthy copy. Each child in the family, has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene that causes the genetic disorder.
diagnosis of Huntington's disease is based primarily on your answers to questions, a general physical exam, a review of your family medical history, and neurological and psychiatric examinations.
The neurologist will ask you questions and conduct relatively simple tests in the office to judge motor, sensory, and psychiatric symptoms.
The neurologist may also perform standardized tests to assess memory reasoning, mental agility, language function, and structural reasoning.
Most people with Huntington's disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s, but the onset of disease may be earlier or later in life. When disease onset begins before age 20, the condition is called juvenile Huntington's disease. Earlier onset often results in a somewhat different presentation of symptoms and faster disease progression.
Huntington's disease usually causes movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders with a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms. Which symptoms appear first varies greatly among affected people.
Involuntary jerking or writhing movements
Muscle problems, such as dystonia
Slow or abnormal eye movements
Messed up posture or balance
Difficulty with speech or swallowing
By: Princia Legrand
Pictures/ A Day in the Life
Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action
Lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts, acting without thinking and sexual vulgarity
Lack of awareness of one's own behaviors and abilities
Slowness in processing thoughts
Difficulty in learning new information
You'll likely be referred to a psychiatrist for an examination to judge a number of factors that could contribute to your diagnosis, including emotional state, patterns of behavior, quality of judgement, coping skills, signs of disordered thinking and evidence of substance abuse.
Predictive genetic test:
A genetic test can be given to someone who has a family history of the disease but shows no signs or symptoms. This is called predictive testing. The test result has no treatment benefit, and it doesn't indicate when disease onset will begin or what symptoms are likely to appear first.
Brain imaging and function:
Your doctor may order brain-imaging tests for assessing the structure or function of the brain. These images may reveal structural changes at particular sites in the brain affected by Huntington's disease, although these changes may not be apparent early in the course of the disease. These tests can also be used to rule out other conditions that may be causing symptoms.
Genetic counseling and testing:
If symptoms strongly suggest a diagnosis of Huntington's disease, your doctor may recommend a genetic test for the defective gene. This test can confirm the diagnosis, and it may be valuable if there's no known family history of Huntington's disease or if no other family member's diagnosis was confirmed with a genetic test.
About 3 months ago I went to the Doctors office for my yearly physical since I had turned 47. The doctor was very concerned about me and gave me many tests which then led to me finding out that I had Huntington's Disease. These last 3 months have not been easy for me......I'm always dizzy, can never remember anything and I sit in a wheelchair all the time. Every time I want to have the smallest snack or drink, I have to call someone so they can feed it to me. I have to break down every task I do into smaller parts so it's easier for me. I just can't believe how less than half a year ago I was living my normal life, but now I have to say that this will be my normal life for now.
"Huntington's Disease." Definition. Ed. Clinic Staff Mayo. Mayo Foundation for Medical Eduaction and Research, 1998. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.
Figure 6.23. The Age of Onset for Huntington's Disease. N.d. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
"Huntington's Disease." Daily Diseases and Disorders -. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
"Huntingtons Disease." Torresbioclan /. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.