(Huntington Chorea; HD)
- Abnormal body movements
- Gradual deterioration or loss of intellectual abilities (dementia)
- Behavior problems
- Family members with HD: Each person whose parent has HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder.
- Age: Onset of symptoms range from 35-50 years old. Juvenile cases occur in people less than 20 years of age.
Abnormal body movements that worsen over time, including:
- Sudden jerks or uncontrolled movements of the limbs or trunk
- Facial grimacing
- Continuous need to turn head and shift gaze
- Walking that is unsteady or dance-like
- Difficulty with eating, dressing, sitting, and caring for oneself
- Difficulty swallowing
- Grunting or poor articulation of speech
- Weight loss
- Trouble with attention and awareness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Loss of memory
- Loss of judgment
- Loss of ability to think rationally
- Irritability and moodiness
- Depression (common)
- Social withdrawal or antisocial behavior
- Irresponsible behavior
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Personality changes
- Psychosis—a severe emotional and behavioral disorder that often interferes with a person's ability to relate to others and to function in daily life
- Paranoia—a mental disorder that involves feelings of being watched, followed, or harmed by others
- Hallucinations—the perception of a thing or person that is not present
- Cause the loss of the physical and mental ability to care for oneself
- Cause severe disability, making full-time or nursing home care necessary
- Result in death, often due to a fall or pneumonia
- Computed tomography (CT) scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the brain
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the brain
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan—a test that uses radioactive isotopes (substances that are absorbed by certain areas of the brain) to assess brain function
- Blood tests—to rule out other causes of symptoms
|CT Scan of the Head|
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- Sedatives or minor tranquilizers, such as benzodiazepines
- Major tranquilizers, like haloperidol or phenothiazine
Hereditary Disease Foundation http://www.hdfoundation.org/
Huntington Disease Society of America http://www.hdsa.org/
International Huntington Association http://www.huntington-assoc.com/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Huntington Society of Canada http://www.huntingtonsociety.ca/
Agarwal P. Huntington disease. MedLink Neurology website. Available at: http://www.medlink.com/medlinkcontent.asp . Accessed July 1, 2009.
Aminoff M. Nervous system disorders. McPhee S, Papadakis M, Tierney L. Current Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment. 12th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2003; chap 24.
Beers MH. The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. London, England: Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2003.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Huntington disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 9, 2010. Accessed November 17, 2010.
Mestre T, Ferreira J, Coelho MM, et al. Therapeutic interventions for symptomatic treatment in Huntington's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2009;8(3):CD006456.
NINDS Huntington's Disease information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/huntington/huntington.htm . Accessed July 1, 2009
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -