What is Huntington’s Disease?
HD is a relatively rare, inherited, neurodegenerative disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain which impairs a person’s functional abilities. Symptoms include deterioration of coordination, involuntary movements, loss of memory, impaired cognitive thinking, and results in psychiatric disorders, depression and death. Huntington’s Disease, while present in an individual’s genetic make-up from conception, most frequently becomes symptomatic in mid-life.
There is no cure for HD and no way to stop its progression. It is always fatal due to complications such as pneumonia from aspiration or injuries resulting from falls. HD is an autosomal dominant disease meaning that if one parent has HD a child will have 50% chance of having it. There is no way to stop the onset of the disease. Life expectancy is generally 10-20 years beyond the emergence of symptoms.