Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive degenerative brain
disorder that slowly diminishes a person's ability to walk, talk,
think and reason. It is named after Dr. George Huntington, a
physician who first published a description of the disease in 1872.
The symptoms of Huntington disease are caused by a loss of cells
in the basal ganglia of the brain. The resulting damage causes
changes in thinking, judgment, memory, emotional control and
movement. People with Huntington disease can usually maintain
their independence for several years after the initial diagnosis.
Eventually, however, they are unable to care for themselves. Death
in Huntington patients often results from complications such as
choking, heart failure, or infection.
HD usually begins between the ages of 30 and 45, although it has
been found in children as young as two years of age. Children who
develop a juvenile form of Huntington disease rarely live to
adulthood. HD affects males and females equally and it affects all
ethnic and racial groups.
HD is hereditary. It is passed from one generation to the next
through a mutated gene. Each child of a person with HD has a 50%
chance of inheriting the gene. Everyone who carries the gene will
develop HD, unless they die of other causes before symptoms
develop. Those who do not inherit the mutated gene will not develop
HD, nor will their children. A genetic test is available that can
accurately determine if a person carries the HD gene.
Huntington Disease Society of
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provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
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