Wednesday, 17 January 2018

About Huntington's Disease, Its Causes, Effects And Effective Treatments


Huntington's disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric disorders. Huntington disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability (cognition). Adult-onset Huntington disease, the most common form of this disorder, usually appears in a person's thirties or forties. Early signs and symptoms can include irritability, depression, small involuntary movements, poor coordination, and trouble learning new information or making decisions.
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Many people with Huntington disease develop involuntary jerking or twitching movements known as chorea. As the disease progresses, these movements become more pronounced. Affected individuals may have trouble walking, speaking, and swallowing.


Symptoms Of Huntington Disease

According to the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA), the symptoms of HD can feel like having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's all in one, the symptoms include:

  • Personality changes, mood swings, and depression 
  • Problems with memory and judgment
  • Unsteady walk and uncontrollable movements
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing, and weight loss.
  • Small changes in coordination and clumsiness
  • Stumbling 
  • Slight signs of mood and emotional change
  • Lack of focus, slight concentration problems, and difficulty functioning, for example, at work
  • Lapses in short-term memory
  • Depression 
  • Irritability

Causes Of Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease is caused by an inherited defect in a single gene. Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person needs only one copy of the defective gene to develop the disorder.
With the exception of genes on the sex chromosomes, a person inherits two copies of every gene one copy from each parent. A parent with a defective gene could pass along the defective copy of the gene or the healthy copy. Each child in the family, therefore, has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene that causes the genetic disorder.
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Treatment For Huntington Disease
Huntington disease is currently incurable. There is no treatment that can reverse its progression or slow it down.

  1. Diagnosis : The doctor will examine the patient and ask about family and medical history, and symptoms, such as recent emotional changes. If they suspect Huntington disease, they will refer the patient to a neurologist.
  2. Speech therapy : Speech therapy can help patients find ways to express words and phrases and communicate in a more effective way.
  3. Physical and occupational therapy : A physical therapist can help improve muscle strength and flexibility, leading to better balance and a reduced the risk of falling.
  4. An occupational therapist can help the patient develop strategies for coping with concentration and memory problems, as well as making the home safer.
  5. Medications : Tetrabenazine (Xenazine) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the jerky, involuntary movements, or chorea, associated with HD.

Regardless, some regions of the world offer medical cannabis to those diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. This enables people with the conditions to take matters into their own hands and administer cannabis if they are experiencing results from the herb.
Although cannabis remains an illegal substance at the federal level in the United States, numerous states have made the herb legal and available to medical patients.


Author: Richard Smith