Huntington's Disease

By: Kirsten Click

What is Huntington's Disease?

Huntington's disease is an incurable disease that is a hereditary brain disorder. This disease occurs when the nerve cells become damaged which then causes parts of the brain to progressively break down and get worse and worse. Eventually as the disease continues it will effect the persons movement of their body, behavior and memory. The brain will eventually shut down all together at the brink of the disease causing the patient to be taken care of all together.

What Causes Huntington's Disease?

Huntington's disease is an inherited disease that is passed down through generations by your parents. Each of the parents have two genes for the disease, a good copy and a faulty copy. At least one of the parents will have the defective gene. Since there is a good copy and a faulty copy that gives the child a 50:50 chance of getting the faulty copy. If the child does inherit the faulty copy many cases show that they do not show signs of the disease until later years in their life, typically middle aged.

Are There Any Treatments?

There are no treatments that have been found to stop or cure Huntington's disease. There are some medications that can lessen some of the symptoms, for example the jerky movements. One of the medications is called Tetrabenazine, it is made to try an lessen the involuntary movements. A side effect might be a start of depression. Another medication that is often used is Antipsychotic drugs such as Haloperidol and Chloropromazine. These two drugs help lessen the amount of jerky, involuntary movements as well as the medication before. There are also support groups and interventions that you can go to to help with getting used to the changes that are happening and all of the on coming symptoms of the disease.
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Who can get Huntington's Disease?

About 30,000 people in North America are diagnosed with Huntington's disease and about 150,000 are "at risk" of getting the disease. Usually the disease will show symptoms around the middle aged time of your adult life. The disease will usually develop symptoms around their mid 30's and 40's. With this disease both men and women can get the disease and it is equally inherited by both. The disease can also be inherited by all ethnic groups, but it most common to be inherited among those of European descent.

How Can You Prevent Getting Huntington's Disease

There is no known way to prevent yourself from getting Huntington's disease or stop the process. Since it is passed down through the genes of your parents that makes it difficult for someone to prevent them selves from getting the disease. To help determine if you have the disease or not you can go to a genetic counselor and they will do a genetic test to see if you have inherited the disease or not from your parents. There may be side effects with getting this test done, but they will discuss them with you at the appointment.
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After doing this project about Huntington's disease i feel a lot more educated on it and I'm interested to learn more. This disease is a very hard disease to over come and not many people do over come it. I have not known any one who has had Huntington's disease, but from the research that i have done it shows that many people do inherit the disease. This disease is very harmful to the nervous system and to the movement of your body and your well being. I feel that this disease is very harmful and that they should try an find a cure for Huntington's disease.
What is Huntington's Disease?
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