Huntington’s Disease – A guide

My aging parentHuntington’s disease (formerly known as Huntington’s chorea) is an inherited condition causing progressive brain damage.

The cause of Huntington’s disease.

The disease is caused by a faulty gene, which causes a protein called huntingtin to be produced in the brain. This protein damages and ultimately kills off brain cells.  As the disease progresses, it leads to depression and psychiatric problems, uncontrolled movement (from ‘chorea’ – the Greek word for dancing), problems with eating and swallowing, behaviour changes, memory loss and poor cognition.

Huntington’s Disease – Facts & figures

Around 12 people out of every 100,000 in the UK have Huntington’s. The disease affects both men and women and it’s possible to develop Huntington’s at any age. If symptoms develop before someone is 20 years old, the disease is referred to as Juvenile Huntington’s disease (JHD). Thankfully, this is pretty rare, representing only 5-10% of people affected with HD. Typically, most people who develop problems are diagnosed between the ages of 35 and 55 years old. The condition generally progresses for around 10-25 years.

To read more about this story visit the My Ageing Parent website.