What is Huntington’s Disease?
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a rare and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that causes nerve cell death in the brain. Characterized by physical, mental and behavioral changes, HD can have a devastating effect on an individual’s quality of life. Over time, HD can cause severe difficulty with movement, cognitive decline and changes in personality.
Huntington’s Disease Symptoms
Early symptoms of Huntington’s Disease can be subtle, and can vary from person to person. Common signs of the condition include changes in speed or coordination, personality changes, cognitive decline, reduced ability to focus, restlessness, jerky movements, slurred speech and depression.
Huntington’s Disease Causes
Huntington’s Disease is caused by a genetic mutation on chromosome 4. This mutation affects the CAG trinucleotide, which is part of the gene responsible for a protein called Huntingtin. This protein is essential for healthy nerve cells. The faulty gene causes the Huntingtin protein to become harmful and leads to nerve cell death in certain parts of the brain.
Huntington’s Disease Treatments
Currently, there is no cure for Huntington’s Disease. However, there are ways to help manage and relieve the symptoms. Treatments include medication, physical and occupational therapy, nutrition therapy, behavioral therapy and social support. Additionally, newer medications are in the development which aim to slow down the progression of the disease.
Health and Huntington’s Disease
Living with Huntington’s Disease can be difficult, but there are strategies to help individuals stay healthy. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical and mental exercise and a balanced diet. Additionally, it is beneficial to build and maintain positive relationships, as well as access support services when needed. With the right care, an individual with Huntington’s Disease can live a full life.