Huntington’s disease is a life-threatening disease, related to neurodegeneration, which is caused by an imbalance in nucleobases such as cytosine, adenine, and guanine. This leads to a repeated expansion of the Huntington gene, which is commonly known as the HTT, and leads to the production of very toxic chemicals, which is known as the Huntington protein—mHTT. This mutant HTT (mHTT) protein is responsible for progressively destroying neurons in the brain. This greatly affects neuromuscular and cognitive abilities that start rapidly declining. Therefore, it is important to know some essential facts about Huntington’s disease. In this way, you can be better informed about this condition and how it can be managed.
Statistics of people affected
It has been reported that Huntington’s disease affects about 1 in 10,000. There are about 30,000 people in the country who have shown the symptoms of the disease. Moreover, there are about 200,000 people in the country who have the chances of inheriting this deadly disease.
Every human being has the gene that is responsible for causing the disease, in their body. However, this disease can only be developed by people who have inherited it and can even potentially pass on to the next generation as well. Anyone who inherits the expanded Huntington gene has a chance of developing Huntington’s disease.
Solution for newborns
For newborns, there are screenings that can help in searching or detecting any kind of serious health condition. There will be relevant treatment options available for that as well, which can provide a clear advantage. The testing will be state-run.
Complications of the disease
Deaths caused due to this disease mainly occur due to the complications that are caused by the disease, and not due to the disease itself. The most common symptoms that occur as a result of this disease is difficulty in swallowing. This often leads to choking. Moreover, the symptoms of this disease may vary from person to person.
Side effects of medicines
The medicines that are used to treat this disease often come with various side effects as well. These side effects can suppress movements and also lead to muscle rigidity in some cases. There are also cases where medicines lead to side effects such as depression as well.
Related to the onset of dementia
This disease is mainly characterized by dementia, and the disease increases its severity. In 90 percent of the cases, the symptoms occur between the age of 30 and 50. Also, this disease is an autosomal dominant disease which means that a defective gene can easily cause the disease.
The Huntington protein is mainly found in the brain
The Huntington protein is found in many tissues of the body, but the highest levels are found in the brains of human beings. The exact function of this protein is quite unknown, but it mainly serves to develop the nerve cells of the body. Nerve cells are very essential in the proper functioning of the body and this protein inhibits that ability.
Varied symptoms are noted
There are many symptoms of Huntington’s disease. These include uncontrollable muscle movements, clumsiness of the body, short-term memory loss, inability to concentrate, etc. There are also other symptoms such as aggressive behavior, mood swings, and depression as well. The lack of motivation mainly leads to depression due to the inability to do simple tasks.
The disease can prove to be highly fatal. A person showing the symptoms of this particular disease will only have around 20 years of life expectancy after the onset of these symptoms. Therefore, proper care is very much needed. There is also an increased risk of contracting pneumonia if the muscles of the lungs fail to actually clear out. Therefore, this condition can cause death as well.
In order to detect the mutated gene of this disease, genetic testing is done for diagnosis. There is also predictive genetic testing available which is prescribed to families who have a history of such disease but shows no such obvious symptoms. Genetic testing is also done along with genetic counseling, which helps the patients prepare for undergoing the tests. This is to help them cope with any future events, which may happen if the test turns positive in any case.
Currently, it should be noted that there is no such known cure for this disease. Various medicines can be used to prevent depressions and mood swings. Speech therapy can also be prescribed to improve the speech. Also, following a well-balanced diet can help in improving weight loss and it will also have a positive impact on relieving the symptoms as well. Moreover, an early diagnosis can go a long way in managing the condition in the best possible way.
These facts will help one know about the condition and to know when to visit a doctor in case any of the symptoms or signs are noted.