Huntington's disease is the most common genetic cause of chorea (abnormal involuntary writhing movements). It is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and dementia. Symptoms of Huntington's disease can begin to affect physical function at any age, but often begin between 35 and 44 years of age. More often than not, there is a high probability that parents can pass along Huntington's disease to their child since it's a genetic disorder.
During the onset phase of Huntington's disease, one may notice subtle changes in personality and physical skills. The physical symptoms are usually the first to be discerned. The cognitive and psychiatric symptoms are generally not severe enough to be recognized on their own at the earlier stages. Over time, most people may have similar symptoms of the disease, however, cognitive symptoms vary between individuals.
At the Neuroscience Institute, our physicians work tirelessly to diagnose the symptoms of Huntington disease in order to best tailor treatment for the patient. Your doctor may choose genetic testing to confirm if an individual or embryo carries an expanded copy of the trinucleotide repeat in the HTT gene that causes the disease. The disease can impact an individual's psychology, career, family planning decisions, relatives, and relationships.
Huntington's disease can not be reversed and there is no cure, however there are treatment options to keep symptoms under control. The following options include:
- The drug known as tetrabenazine
Patients that maintain a regular exercise schedule tend to experience less severe symptoms that come with the disease.