What is Huntington’s Disease (HD)?
Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited, progressively degenerative brain disorder. HD affects a person’s emotional control, cognitive ability and movement. It affects males and females and has been found in all racial groups throughout the world. Symptoms of HD vary greatly from person to person and appear gradually in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Onset of HD may occur at younger or older ages and children who show signs of HD develop the juvenile form (JHD) of the illness.
Symptoms of HD can be broken down into three categories:
Emotional/Behavioral Symptoms, which include depression, irritability, anxiety, aggressive outbursts, mood swings and social withdrawal.
Cognitive/Intellectual Symptoms include problems with short-term memory, organizing difficulty and trouble with concentration and coping.
Motor Symptoms include fidgety behavior, uncoordination, involuntary movements (chorea and dystonia) and difficulties with speech, swallowing, balance and walking.
The disease progress over a 10 to 25 year period and is eventually fatal. Currently there is no cure for HD however symptoms of the illness can be treated.
Talking to Kids About Huntingtons Disease, is a 45-page book designed for caregivers of children who have a loved one affected by HD. It is a wonderful resource to family members as a teaching tool and will enable caregivers to feel more comfortable and confident in dealing with this topic.
© 2005 Bonnie Hennig. All rights reserved.