Huntingtons disease is caused by inheriting defect in a single gene. It is an autosomal dominant disorder, meaning you only need one defective gene to develop this disease.
Signs and symptoms
Some people with Huntingtons disease can experience different types of signs and symptoms such as
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty in thinking
- Memory loss
- Mental confusion
- Slowness in activity understanding
- Difficulty thinking or understanding
- Abnormality walking
- Increased muscle activity
- Involuntary movements
- Weight loss
- Voice changes
Stages of Huntingtons
You got through multiple stages of this disease before the doctors and relatives start thinking about the "end-of-life" stage. The early stage is where you have twitches. You also have trouble eating, sleeping, and thinking through tasks that haven't been challenging before. You can still perform at your usual level though. In the middle stage, you lose ability to work and drive. This also include household activities. Your speech becomes slurred and many activites that include muscle are difficult. In the last stage, it requires a lot of help. Most are unable to speak or remain bedridden. Most people in their last stage spend the rest of their time in a nursing home.
People risking Huntingtons
Having a parent with Huntingtons disease is a factor the child of an affected parent has a 50% chance of risking the disease. It occurs in the IT-15 gene and located on chromosome 4.
People currently affected by the disorder
Although this disease is rare, the chances of it affecting women and men are equal. Currently, there are about 6,000 people in the U.K. with the disease, and 30,000 in the us, making it 1 in every 10,000 Americans.
Famous people who have/had Huntingtons
Woody was an american musician and songwriter who got diagnosed in the late 1940's. From 1956-1961, he health was severely bad, and was unable to control his muscles. He died in 1967.
Charles was a journalist for 26 years for NBC before being a spokesperson for families and patient suffering from brain diseases. In2005 though, he got tested for genetic diseases, as Huntington ran in his family, and was found to have the gene.
There are no treatments that can alter the course of Huntingtons. Medication can help with symptoms though. Multiple interventions can also help a person adapt to changes in their abilities for a certain amount of time. Management for medication is likely to evolve over the course of the disease. Drugs that can treat some symptoms can result in worsening other symptoms however.