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Learn More About The Disease

Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited disorder resulting in slow and irreversible loss of both mental and physical capacity. There are 30,000 persons in the U.S. currently diagnosed with HD and each of their siblings and children has a 50% chance of developing it. HD is a "family disease", not just because it is inherited from a parent, but also because it profoundly affects the entire family unit emotionally, socially, and financially.  HD, like Alzheimers, ALS, MS and Parkinson's, takes a person away from their loved ones and the rest of the world long before they die.


Symptoms of Huntington’s disease are varied, and may begin with psychiatric issues before movement problems.


Psychiatric Disorders

The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s is depression. This is not simply a reaction to receiving a diagnosis, but occurs because of injury to the brain and changes in brain function. Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness

  • Loss of interest in normal activities and social withdrawal

  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping

  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Indecisiveness and decreased concentration

  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

  • Changes in appetite

Other common psychiatric problems are obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania and bipolar disorder. Mood or personality changes may also occur, such as irritability, apathy, anxiety or inappropriate behaviors.


Movement Disorders

Movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease can include involuntary and voluntary motions such as:

  • Involuntary jerking or writing (chorea)

  • Involuntary sustained contracting of muscles (dystonia)

  • Muscle rigidity

  • Slow, uncoordinated fine movements

  • Slow or abnormal eye movements

  • Impaired walking, posture and balance

  • Difficulty with production of speech and swallowing


Cognitive Disorders

People who have Huntington’s will see a decline in their cognitive function, and may experience:

  • Loss of memory

  • Loss of judgment

  • Speech changes

  • Personality changes

  • Disorientation or confusion




Thomas Cellini Huntington's Foundation









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