Brain Injury Care Provider

Understanding Huntington’s disease and what your next steps should be

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, you might be concerned about what this really means.

Whilst it isn’t widely spoken about, Huntington’s disease has a huge impact on those diagnosed, as well as their families.

To guide you through this time, we’ve broken down what Huntington’s disease is and how to navigate your next steps.

What is Huntington’s disease?

The disease stops nerve cells in the brain from working correctly meaning the brain does not function as it is supposed to.

It can also be inherited from your parents.

Your brain controls your body and its movements, but this disease worsens the health of the brain over time.

The symptoms you may present can start at almost any age in your life; most people with Huntington’s disease will develop problems between the ages of 30 and 50.

The condition slowly worsens over 10-25 years and currently, there is sadly no cure.

Causes and symptoms

Huntington’s disease is the result of a faulty gene; you need cells in parts of the brain to function but sometimes they become damaged, and the genes become sensitive to their effects.

It is important to understand that if someone’s parent has Huntington’s disease then they need to have a good copy of the gene and a faulty copy of the gene.

This means that:

  • There is a 50:50 chance that each of their children will develop the disease; if you are affected, you might pass the gene onto your children
  • There is a 50:50 chance that each of their children won’t develop disease; if you are unaffected, you cannot pass the gene onto your children

It is rare, but in approximately three per cent of cases of the disease there are no obvious family histories of the condition, which is why we have identified some key symptoms for you to look out for.

Early symptoms

The first signs of Huntington’s disease are often changes in behaviour. These might include:

  • A lack of emotions and not recognising someone else’s needs
  • Periods of aggression/excitement/depression/antisocial behaviour and anger
  • Apathy (this causes a person to seem lazy or have an uninterest in hygiene)
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate on more than one task
  • Becoming grumpy and impulsive

Later symptoms

In the later stages of the disease, these possible symptoms might develop:

  • Psychiatric problems
  • Uncontrollable movements such as jerking, clicking or fidgety movements of the body and limbs
  • Difficulty eating
  • Communication problems like slurring your speech
  • Balance problems

Different types of Huntington’s disease

There are two different types of the disease; adult and juvenile.

Adult is the most common form of Huntington’s disease where people usually develop symptoms between 30 and 50 years of age.

Juvenile Huntington’s disease affects children and teenagers, although it is very rare.

Their symptoms are often quite similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, with their symptoms also affecting their schoolwork.

Common symptoms include:

  • A rapid decline in school performance
  • Changes in handwriting
  • Problems with movement, for example stiffness/tremors or muscle twitching
  • Fits

Treatment and support

At Almond Care, we understand the difficulty of Huntington’s disease means that any care packages and provisions are tailor-made but with the ability to change as the needs of the disease arise.

We understand how the disease individually affects each client, so we tailor our approach for their individual needs, even if the needs change.

The care of our clients is at the forefront of our values, which is why our carers do an excellent job in maintaining our clients’ skills and mobility for as long as possible. This also gives them chance to learn new skills, receiving the full support along their journey.

We pay close attention to the emotional and behavioural changes associated with Huntington’s disease in order to support the client and their family in finding the best way to deal with the changes.

If you would like to find out more about Huntington’s disease, or enquire about care provisions for Huntington’s disease, please click here or call 02476102333.


Call us today!

For a free, no-obligation discussion about our UK complex care in the home for brain injury, spinal cord injury, long-term ventilation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other neurological conditions, please click here or call 024 7610 2333.