Huntington's Disease

The disease that destroys brain cells

About Huntington's Disease

Some quick things about Huntington's disease are the following. Huntington's disease is a single gene mutation. Also George Huntington discovered Huntington's disease and named it after himself. George discovered the disease in 1872 by describing it to the residents of East Hampton, Long Island. To sum up the disease it is a hereditary disease that gradually causes you to lose brain cells and eventually cause you to lose physical and mental abilities. Unfortunately Huntington's disease affect your life expectancy. Most people start to get very bad effect of Huntington's disease 10-25 years after being diagnosed. Since this is the time it worsens most people die within this time.


(George Huntington in the top right is the man who discovered the disease)

Symptoms

There is a lot of things people notice or symptoms that can show you have Huntington's disease.Some of the symptoms are listed below.

  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Loss of intellectual abilities
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Poor memory
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty walking, talking and swallowing

Don't get to worried though most of these symptoms start to happen in your 30's to 50's but can happen earlier in life.


(The brain in the top right is the area that is affected by Huntington's disease or where the brain cells deteriorate)

Inherited

Huntington's disease can only be inherited from your parents. Huntington's disease is also a dominant trait which means that only one of your parents has to have Huntington's disease for you to have a chance to get it. This means that every parent with Huntington's disease has a 50% chance to give it to there offspring. 3:7 people per 100,000 people have Huntington's disease. This means that 42% of those people have Huntington's disease. That may not seem like a lot but when one person has Huntington's disease it affects the entire family. In specific the mutation that give people Huntington's disease happens in chromosome four. Again people most often are diagnosed with Huntington's disease in there 30's to 50's but less happen in Japanese, Chinese and African people. Lastly, no environmental factors influence Huntington's disease since it is all hereditary.


(The family tree in the top right is what it would look like if two people had offspring and then the first group of kids had children aswell)

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Treatment

Huntington's disease cannot be prevented after birth. One way you can make sure offspring doesn't have Huntington's disease is get special treatments from doctors and only use sex cells that are negative for Huntington's disease to produce offspring. There is also no way to slow down Huntington's disease. There is some ways you can help the person with the disease. There is certain drugs such as tetrabenazine and antidepressants that help the person. Also if you do not want to use these drugs then exercising can help because most people who exercise live longer than those who don't. Unfortunately they have stopped funding a cure for Huntington's disease but some groups of people still work to find out if there is a cure. Another way you can help the person with the disease is to get them into physical, speech, and occupational therapy.


(In the top right is a man with Huntington's disease going through physical therapy)

Orginizations

Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) is probably the best organization for Huntington's disease. HDSA offers funds for families that have someone with Huntington's disease in there family. They also offer support groups for people with the disease so they can talk and be with people going through the same thing. Lastly, HDSA also offers donations for the groups of people who are still working for a cure for Huntington's disease. Another good organization is Team Hope. Team Hope offers a annual walk for people with Huntington's disease to spread the word and support other things that have to do with Huntington's disease. Personally I think that being around more people with Huntington's disease would help meet new people and discuss stuff that some people without the disease may not get.


(In the top right is the Team Hope logo that they put on shirts and other items to spread the word about Huntington's disease)

Testing for Huntington's disease

Testing for Huntington's disease is different from what you may think it would be like. Most of the time doctors will just ask questions at first to test for Huntington's disease. These questions they ask will test your memory, Language function, reasoning and more. So a question might be something like "What did you have for dinner yesterday." After this if they believe you have Huntington's disease they will review your family tree. They review your family tree to help support there prediction about whether or not you have Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease Then after that they will continue onto genetic testing and such to see if you have it 100%.


(The man in the top right is one of many people with the struggles of being confirmed to have have Huntington's disease)