What is Huntington’s disease ?
Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, which cause breakdown or death of brain cells. It is an inherited disease caused due to defected genes results in physical and mental disabilities like lack of coordination in movement, difficulty in talking, memory lapses and some other disorders.
It is very rare disease, there are around one million cases occurs in india every year. This disease generally begin in 30s or 40s in adults but if disease starts in early age that is in childhood years then it is called juvenile huntington’s disease.
Types of Huntington’s disease
There are two types i.e.
- Adult onset Huntington’s disease
- Juvenile Huntington’s disease
Adult onset Huntington’s disease
Adult onset Huntington’s disease occurs at 30s or 40s. It is more common between two types. Symptoms of disease are decrease in health condition, sometimes feeling like hallucinations, lack of coordination in movements, not understanding things easily and difficulty in dicision making.
Juvenile Huntington’s disease
When disease occur at early childhood then it is called Juvenile or early onset Huntington’s disease. It is very rare type occurs 1 in 1000 or even less. the symptoms of this type of diseases may result in mental, physical and emotional health of child like late understanding of things compared to other children, slow movements, fear of society and slurred speech not be able to speak clearly.
huntington disease symptoms
Symptoms of Huntington’s disease is generally seen between age of 30 to 50 years. on other hand Juvenile or early onset symptoms appear in childhood.
Early symptoms of disease are very minor specially mental disabilities but as the disease progress the symptoms of disease increases and become severe.
Symptoms of adult onset disease
Adult on set disease usually start appearing age between 30s to 50s. There are Physical, mental and emotional symptoms of this disease which are as follow.
- mood swings
- Difficulty in focusing
- lack of awareness
- Difficulty in emotional expression
- Slowness in movements
- Difficulty in speech or talking
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Involuntary jerking movements or chorea
- Muscle contractions
- Lack of coordination in movements
Symptoms of Huntington’s disease in children
There are some symptoms that are noticable in children who are suffering from this disease are :-
- Low performance in school activities
- Slowness of movement
- Low IQ
- Late or slow understanding
- Slurred speach ( not be able to speak clearly )
- Lack of awareness
Huntington’s Disease Causes
Huntington’s disease causes due to genetic defect, only one single defect in genes can cause this disease. This type of defect is also called autosomal dominant disorder.
A sequence DNA i.e. ( CNG ) is the cause of disease. The repetition of this single DNA causes the disease. If copy of this certain sequence is less then 40 times then there is less chances of this disease but if a person has more then 40 copies of this DNA sequence then the chances are much greater to have this disease.
Lets understand dominant disorder, We get two copies of every genes form both of our parents. If any of our parents having any single copy of defected gene then there are 50 percentage of chances are there that this disorder pass to us.
This disease is not any normal type of genetic disorder like other disease this disease do not cause because of any missing of gene, it causes because of copping defect that means a single section of gene is copy too many times then normal and the number of copies increase as generation goes on.
Accroding to a study adult onset and juvenile disease depends on the number of gene repeated. If someone have mote number of repeated genes then the disease symptoms starts appearing earlier in child hood but if repeats are less the it ls symptoms start appearing slowly in old age.
Diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease
Diagnosis of disease includes look on
- persons family history
- Physical examination
- Neurological examination
- Psychiatric examinations
In those examinations doctors will test you all physically, mentally and emotionally.
Doctors will also ask for Brain imaging and function tests to see the normal functioning of brain and Genetic test to see any family history of the disease.
Treatment for huntington’s disease
Huntington’s Disease is incurable, there is no treatment for this disease untill now. The only thing one can do is to control some symptoms of this disease which causes problem in daily life by physical therapy and Medications.
Sometimes Medications may also lead to side effects so regular Check is necessary for patients.
1. Movement disorder Medications – Tetrabenazine and deutetrabenazine – Supress involuntary jerking and writhing movements.
Side effects – drowsiness, restlessness, and the risk of worsening or triggering depression or other psychiatric conditions.
2. Psychiatric disorder Medications – Psychiatric disorder treated with Antidepressants, Antipsychotic drugs and mood- stabilizing drugs.
Side effects – Nausea, diarrhoea, drowsiness, low blood pressure and some other minor side effects.
Note ; Never use any Medications without doctors consulting.
Physiotherapy or physical therapy
Physiotherapy plays a major role in this disease, physical therapy helps to maintain balance and coordination, increases the strength and flexibility of body.
Physiotherapist will teach different types of excercises which are very beneficial to improve symptoms of Huntington’s disease
Occupational therapy and psychotherapy
Occupational therapy will help you to maintain your daily activitie such as bathing, walking, eating, dressing ect and also help you with devices that improves body function. Psychotherapy will help in behavioral problems,
Patients faces difficulty in speech due to impact of disease in muscles of mouth. Which also lead to difficulty in eating, drinking and swallowing. A speech therapist will help to speak properly with the help of therapys and devices.
1. How long can you live with Huntington’s disease?
People with adult onset Huntington’s disease may live generally around 15-20 years after apperance of symptoms. People with juvenile disease not live they live around 10-15 years after symptoms appear.
2. How do you get Huntington’s disease?
Huntington’s disease causes due to genetic defect, only one single defect in genes can cause this disease. We get two copies of every genes form both of our parents. If any of our parents having any single copy of defected gene then there are 50 percentage chances are there that this disorder pass to us.
3. Causes of death people with Huntington’s Disease?
People with Huntington’s disease mainly die due to infections in certain organs of the body or die due to mental disabilities such as suicide or certain injury and accidents.
4. how huntington’s disease is inherited ?
We get two copies of every genes form both of our parents. If any of our parents having any single copy of defected gene then there are 50 percentage of chances are there that this disorder pass to us.
If you find any symptoms of this disease then please visit a doctor as soon as possible. This is very rare disease, may the symptoms you find cause due to other medical condition.