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Understanding Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a progressive, inherited brain disorder. With Huntington's disease, the group of nerve cells at the brain's base, known as the basal ganglia, are damaged. This causes areas of the brain to deteriorate. A child with a parent who has Huntington's disease has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the disorder themselves. Both sexes have the same risk, and Huntington's disease affects all races. This disease can occur at any stage in life from childhood to advanced age.

Functional Effects Of Huntington's Disease

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Huntington's disease symptoms most common begin appearing between the ages of thirty and fifty but have been seen to appear as early as two years old and as late as eighty years old. Huntington's disease affects all areas of the body including legs, arms, face and upper body, as well as thinking, emotion, and memory. Common functional symptoms include rigidity of muscles, involuntary jerking of muscles, muscular contractures, problems with balance and gait stability, gait impairment, abnormal eye movement, and difficulty with speech and swallowing. There is a diagnostic genetic test available that can confirm whether symptoms experienced are the result of the disease. Managing symptoms is the priority as there is currently no cure for Huntington's disease.

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