Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic, progressive, fatal brain disorder that often appears between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age but has appeared as early as two years of age and as late as 80+. The disease causes an aggressive deterioration of nerve cells in the brain which impacts functional capabilities often resulting in movement and cognitive thinking difficulties.
HD is caused by a “dominant” defect on chromosome 4 which means anyone inheriting the gene will develop the disease.
The hallmark symptom of HD is uncontrolled movement of legs, arms, upper body, face and head. Other symptoms include:
As damage to the brain occurs, physical changes to the body manifest resulting in:
Huntington’s disease is a genetic autosomal dominant disorder. Every person who has Huntington’s disease has a 50/50 chance of passing the faulty gene to the next generation.
A preliminary diagnosis can generally be reached after:
The medical practitioner may also require the following diagnostic tests and examinations to further assess the brain’s function and structure:
A diagnostic genetic test is available to confirm that the defective gene for the huntingtin protein is the cause of symptoms suspected of HD. It can also be used to detect the defective gene in at-risk individuals who have not yet exhibited any symptoms.
Currently, there is no cure for HD and no way to slow or stop the disease. Modern treatments focus on managing the symptoms of HD. Those receiving treatment are encouraged to keep all appointments and not get discouraged if it takes time for their healthcare team to find the best treatment options for them.
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1320 Oakfield Drive, Brandon, FL 33511