What is Huntington’s disease?
Huntington’s disease is an inherited disorder in which the nerve cells of the brain continually dissolve. It impacts your physical actions, thoughts, and cognitive skills. There is no remedy for this illness, but there are strategies to deal with it. Huntington’s disease, which affects brain cells, is an incurable, inherited brain condition.
Huntington’s illness occurs where in the brain a defective gene triggers toxic proteins to accumulate. In individuals of European origins, Huntington disease is much more common, impacting around three to seven out of every 100,000 Europeans.
Symptoms of Huntington’s disease
It is most probable that signs and symptoms will manifest between the ages of 30 and 50 years, but they can appear at any time. The illness or its complications will ultimately be lethal. The main Huntington’s disease symptoms include:
- Personality and mood changes
- Difficulty swallowing and speaking
- Problems with memory, thinking, and judgment
- Loss of coordination and control of movements
Symptom progression can differ between people. First, certain individuals may undergo depression and then modify their motor skills. Popular early signs are mood changes and odd behavior.
Two types of Huntington’s disease are encompass adult onset and early onset.
♦ Adult Onset
The most common type Huntington’s disease is adult onset. Symptoms typically start when individuals are in their 30s or 40s. Sometimes, initial signs encompass:
- Poor coordination
- Trouble making decisions
- Minor involuntary movements
- Difficulty understanding new information
In addition to the initial symptoms of Huntington disorder, there are other ones as well that may arise as the disease advances encompass:
- Memory loss
- Speech changes
- Difficulty walking
- Personality changes
- Decline in cognitive abilities
- Trouble swallowing and speaking
- Uncontrolled twitching movements, called chorea
♦ Early Onset
Less prevalent is this type of Huntington’s disease. Typically, signs begin to occur in childhood or adolescence. Huntington’s early-onset disease induces psychological, emotional, and behavioral changes, including:
- Rigid muscles
- Slurred speech
- Frequent falling
- Slow movements
- Sudden decline in school enactment
Causes of Huntington’s disease
On the part of the causes of Huntington’s disease, it is triggered by a mutation in a single gene. It’s deemed a prevalent autosomal disorder. This implies that to induce the disease, one copy of the defective gene is enough. If this genetic mutation is present in one of your parents, you have a 50% probability of inheriting it. Also, you can transfer it on to your kids.
Many other disorders vary from the genetic mutation liable for Huntington syndrome. In the gene, there is no replacement or a missing portion. Alternatively, a copying mistake happens. Too many instances, a region inside the gene is copied. With each generation, the number of replicated copies continues to grow.
In fact, in individuals with a greater number of repeats, symptoms of Huntington’s disease turn up faster. When more repeats develop, the disorder also advances swiftly.
Huntington disease Diagnosis
Family background plays a significant role in Huntington’s disease diagnosis. Nevertheless, to help in diagnosing the issue, a number of clinical and laboratory tests can be performed.
♦ Genetic Testing
Your doctor might prescribe genetic testing if you have multiple symptoms correlated with Huntington disease. This disorder can be diagnosed accurately by a genetic test. Genetic testing will also allow you to determine whether to have kids or not. Some individuals with Huntington’s do not choose to risk the next generation transmitting on the faulty gene.
♦ Psychiatric Tests
On the part of Huntington’s disease test, you may be instructed by your doctor to undertake a psychiatric examination. This assessment measures the coping capacity, emotional state, and patterns of behavior. A doctor will also check for symptoms of thought disorder. To see if medications can explain your symptoms, you may be checked for drug addiction.
♦ Brain Imaging Tests
You might need an electroencephalogram if you’ve had seizures (EEG). The electrical function in your brain is assessed by this examination. It is also possible to use brain-imaging tests to identify physical variations in the brain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use magnetic fields to provide a high degree of information to capture brain images.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans combine multiple X-rays to create a cross-sectional image of the brain.
♦ Neurological Tests
Tests are performed by a neurologist to verify the undermentioned:
- Muscle tone
- Sense of touch
Huntington disease Treatment
Presently, Huntington’s disease is untreatable. Treatment does not undo, or slow down, its advancement. Medication and other treatments can, nevertheless, help control such signs.
Your agility, balance, and endurance can be enhanced by physical therapy. Your mobility is increased with this practice, and falls can be avoided. It is possible to use occupational therapy to assess your everyday activities and prescribe devices that assist with:
- Getting dressed
- Eating and drinking
On the part of the treatment for Huntington’s disease, it is likely that speech therapy will help you talk properly. You will be instructed other forms of communication if you can’t really speak. Speech therapists can assist with issues with swallowing and feeding as well.
Psychotherapy will assist you to work through mental and emotional issues. It will enable you to improve coping skills as well.
Any of your physical and mental symptoms could offer relief from medications. As the disease advances, the types and quantities of medications required will change.
Tetrabenazine and antipsychotic medications can be treated for involuntary movements. With diazepam, muscle stiffness and excessive muscle contractions may be addressed. Antidepressants and mood-stabilizing medications can be used to manage anxiety and other psychological symptoms.