This is a rare condition of inherited disease that progressively degenerates the nerve cells inside our brain. This disease causes a broad impact on an individual’s functional abilities and most of the time results in psychiatric, cognitive, and dynamic disorders.
The symptoms of this disease can surface at any time, however, they often appear by the time a person is between 30 and 40 years. There’s also juvenile Huntington’s disease that develops before a person reaches 20. Juvenile Huntigton’s has somewhat different symptoms and the disease may progress much faster. The condition can be managed by medication, however, even with treatment the mental behavioural, and physical decline associated with the disease can’t be prevented.
There are a number of symptoms accompanied with movement, psychiatric, and cognitive functional disorder. It depends on the person which symptom would surface first. Some of the factors could dominate over others or pose greater effect on the functional ability, it could however change as the disease progresses.
The movement disorders could be either voluntary issues or involuntary issues. Involuntary issues could be jerking or extreme writhing movements (scientifically termed as chorea). It could also be muscle issues like rigidity or contracture of the muscle (dystonia). There are other symptoms like eye movements that is abnormal or slow, rather impaired balance, posture, and gait. The individual may find it difficult to swallow or speak.
Problems in voluntary movements instead of voluntary ones might create greater impact on an individual’s working ability, performing daily functions, and communicate plus remain self-sufficient.
Issues like finding it difficult to organize, prioritize, or focus on tasks. Always tending to get stuck on a thought, not being flexible on a thought or action could indicate signs of cognitive disorder. The person may show lack of control in impulse and can have bouts of outbursts, sexual promiscuity and acting without properly thinking. It could also bring about lacking in awareness of the person’s own abilities and behaviours, difficult to find words or slow in processing thoughts, also show difficulty in learning new information.
The most predominant psychiatric disorder with this condition is depression. Depression happens because of brain injury and thereby changes that happen in the brain function. Common symptoms could be feeling irritable, sad or apathetic, social withdrawal, insomnia, fatigue accompanied by loss in energy, frequently thinking of dying, death, or suicide.
Other types of common disorders may be OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder, a condition where the individual is recurrently thinking intrusive things and shows repetitive behaviour. It also shows preconditions of mania, causing elevated mood, impulsive behaviour, over activity, and high self-esteem. The person could also be suffering from bipolar disorder, where there is alternative behavioural show of mania and depression. Above all, the patients may experience weight loss with the progress of the disease.
The preconditions may be slightly different in young, with the juveniles facing difficulty in paying attention. There could be significant and rapid overall drop in performance, along with behavioural problems.
Our doctors are aware that Huntington’s disease is understandably an alarming condition and could run down in the family. Hence, they usually suggest families with such condition to abstain from creating more children. Family planning is usually suggested to them, to help contain the condition with the existing generation.
We also have genetic counsellors who conduct detailed DNA testing of the individual’s either fearing the condition or actually suffering from it. In case the parent is found positive, the physicians ask them to reconsider conception. They ask the individual to either consider vitro fertilization where the Huntington’s gene from the mother’s uterus is removed and only these testing negative for this condition and implanted in the womb.
This is the prevention to help a mother not conceive a baby with same conditions. Moreover, there are other conditions and according to the conditions , treatments are administered by expert neurosurgeons.
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