Is a Neuro degenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to mental decline and behavioral
Huntington's disease usually causes movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders with a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms. Which symptoms appear first varies greatly among affected people. During the course of the disease, some disorders appear to be more dominant or have a greater effect on functional ability.
A. Movement disorders
The movement disorders associated with Huntington's disease can include both involuntary movements and impairments in voluntary movements:
• Involuntary jerking or writhing movements (chorea)
• Muscle problems, such as rigidity or muscle contracture (dystonia)
• Slow or abnormal eye movements
• Impaired gait, posture and balance
• Difficulty with the physical production of speech or swallowing
Impairments in voluntary movements — rather than the involuntary movements — may have a greater impact on a person's ability to work, perform daily activities, communicate and remain independent.
B. Cognitive disorders
Cognitive impairments often associated with Huntington's disease include:
• Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
• Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action (perseveration)
• Lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts, acting without thinking and sexual promiscuity
• Lack of awareness of one's own behaviors and abilities
• Slowness in processing thoughts or ''finding'' words
• Difficulty in learning new information
C. Psychiatric disorders
The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington's disease is depression. Signs and symptoms may include:
• Feelings of irritability, sadness or apathy
• Social withdrawal
• Fatigue and loss of energy
• Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
Other common psychiatric disorders include:
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder, a condition marked by recurrent, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors
• Mania, which can cause elevated mood, overactivity, impulsive behavior and inflated self-esteem
• Bipolar disorder, or alternating episodes of depression and mania
In addition to the above symptoms, weight loss is common in people with Huntington's disease, especially as the disease progresses.
A diagnosis of Huntington's disease is based primarily
- On your answers to questions
- A general physical exam
- A review of your family medical history
- Neurological examiation
- Psychiatric examinations
Other tests: Include
Brain imaging and function:
• CT Scan
Genetic counseling and testing
If symptoms strongly suggest a diagnosis of Huntington's disease, your doctor may recommend a genetic test for the defective gene. The test won't provide information that is beneficial in determining a treatment plan.
Predictive genetic test
A genetic test can be given to someone who has a family history of the disease but shows no signs or symptoms. This is called predictive testing.
1. Medications for movement disorders
2. Medications for psychiatric disorders
A psychotherapist — a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker — can provide talk therapy to help a person manage behavioral problems, develop coping strategies, manage expectations during progression of the disease and facilitate effective communication among family members.
4. Speech therapy
5. Physical therapy
A physical therapist can teach you appropriate and safe exercises that enhance strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. These exercises can help maintain mobility as long as possible and may reduce the risk of falls.
6. Occupational therapy
Consult at Aadil Hospital for medical and other treatments.