Huntington’s Disease is an inherited neurodegenerative condition. It is an autosomal dominant condition which means that in order to develop Huntington’s Disease, a person must inherit one copy of the gene from a parent. In other words, if your parent has Huntington’s Disease this means you have a 1 in 2 chance of developing the condition yourself.
The features of Huntington’s Disease can develop at different ages, with the peak age between 30-50 years. An early onset and a late onset of symptoms can also occur in some individuals. Initial symptoms can be subtle but include abnormal movements and behavioural changes. As the disease progresses, those affected can experience further neurological and psychiatric features.
The two main features of Huntington’s Disease can be grouped into Physical Changes and Cognitive or Behavioural Changes
There is currently no cure for Huntington’s Disease. The therapies available are aimed at reducing the impact of symptoms and help to maintain function and quality of life. Medications that are available are to help with chorea and the psychiatric features. Genetic counselling and testing are available through the Clinical Genetics Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for family members of those with Huntington’s Disease. For some individuals, having the choice to find out whether they also carry the gene is important in their future planning.
Adelaide Disability Medical Services has a dedicated team of General Practitioners who can provide general medical care to those with Huntington’s Disease. They will work alongside your neurologist, allied health team and care providers to manage your current medical concerns and plan for your future care needs.
For further information about Huntington’s Disease, please visit the following resources: