Huntington's Disease

By: Maria Grimes

What is Huntington's Disease-

It is a heredity disease marked by the degeneration of the brain cells and causing chorea and progressive dementia. It cause the nerve cells in the brain to waste away.
You are born with the defective gene but do not experience symptoms until middle age. The thing that is affected the most is the basal ganglia.

The early symptoms include uncontrolled movements, clumsiness or balance problems
Later symptoms may include the ability to not walk talk or swallow some may experience memory loss.


Causes

The main thing is that you can't do anything about it. You are born with it. It happens when one abnormal cell produces HD. It is passed from the parent to the child or by a misspelling in the normal gene.


Testing/Treatment

If you wish to be tested there would be many steps. You would need to contact your doctor and then they would get you started. You may have to go to counseling so that you are prepared for the outcome. If you would still be interested then they would do a presymptomatic test which is a blood test. They may also ask that the infected relative take the test as well so that they could compare the test results. If the parents have had history of the disease in their family they could have prenatal testing done to see if the baby would contract it as well.

There is no real treatment because it occurs in the gene there is no cure. The doctor can give the patient medicine to control emotional and movement problems associated with HD. However the patient needs to keep in mind that the medicine will control the symptoms but it won't stop or reverse them.


Life Out-look

The affected person will always need someone to help them throughout their life. The caregiver will need to make sure that they keep them physically active and that they help them eat and try to make their life as normal as possible. The illness may last 10 to 30 years.


Complications

There are many effects such as severe mood swings in the early stages of the disease. The disease can get to the pint where speech is slurred and vital functions like swallowing, eating, speaking, and especially walking decline.


Preventions

The only way to prevent from passing the gene on is to talk to a genetic counselor on ways to still have a baby without passing it on. These could be in vitro fertilization.


Works Cited

www.medicinenet.com/huntington_disease/article.htm

www.mayoclinic.com/health/huntingtons-disease/DS00401/DSECTION=prevention