Huntington disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that presents the patient with physical, psychological and social challenges. Though not completely curable, there are various treatments that aim at giving persons, suffering from the disease, substantial relief from the symptoms.
Huntington is named so because it was first described by George Huntington. The disease is caused by a genetic disorder in the nervous system. This heredity based disease is recorded in higher frequency in the world today, owing to advanced diagnostic tools available to doctors. There are a multitude of symptoms. Here’s an overview of the symptoms and treatment.
Huntington disease is primarily a genetic disorder. It means that it is inherited if one’s family has a history of the disease. The Huntington disease shows its initial signs around the middle age years of late 40s or early 50s. The first signs include loss of balance and clumsy, uncontrollable movements. Gradually the disease progresses to further degenerate certain brain cells. Patients of the disease may find it difficult to communicate, walk or even eat and swallow.
Huntington Disease: symptoms
The psychological symptoms of Huntington disease include severe depression and decrease in mental ability. In fact, personality changes occur in the patient almost 10 to 12 years before drastic symptoms set in. The disease presents different symptoms to different individuals. While some may gradually fail to recognize family members, other may be better adapted to communicating and expressing themselves. This is one of the tragedies that is involved with Huntington Disease.
Huntington Disease social aspects
Socially, patients of this disease are sometimes maladjusted unless they have the support of a skilled care taker. Their mental disability and loss of memory can both become inconveniences. However, effective counseling and care help manage these difficulties. Depression and schizophrenic behavior can also be a cause of difficulty in social environments.
The treatment of Huntington disease is largely symptomatic. It commences with diagnosis which is done with the help of specific blood tests and a variety of noninvasive tests which include the brain MRI scan. The blood test can reveal the presence of the Huntington disease gene and ascertain if a person is likely to develop the disease. After a positive diagnosis based on tests and family history, treatments can begin based on specific symptoms. There are drugs that are given for movement control, seizures, memory management and muscle relaxation. These drugs help the symptoms feel substantially manageable. Patients can be more socially adjusted with the support of a care taker who is also counseled about the progress of the disease. There are many drugs that are in the clinical trial phase and many neurological transplant treatments that are being researched upon. It is only too right to hope that medical science will soon make headway in the treatment of the Huntington disease.