Signs and Symptoms of Early Huntington’s Disease
As you grow older, worries about progressive diseases like Huntington’s Disease and dementia become more prominent in your mind. Many people in their 40s and 50s will begin to take vitamins, exercise more, and focus on eating healthier.
If you know that your parent has Huntington’s Disease, or you suspect you may be developing the symptoms, read on to learn about the earliest signs and symptoms of the condition.
The Earliest Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease
The first symptoms of this condition tend to show up around 30 to 50 years of age. You can get the disease earlier or later, but it’s more common to be in that age range. Since it’s a progressive disease, the symptoms will progressively worsen over time.
Here are some of the first symptoms you may see in this condition:
- Irritability and aggression
- Concentration problems
- Gait abnormality
- Excessive fidgeting
- Anxiety and depression
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Muscle spasms
- Memory loss
If you are experiencing four or more of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible to find the cause. Many of these symptoms are common in mental health conditions as well, so it is possible that you do not have Huntington’s Disease.
Finding a Diagnosis for Huntington’s Disease
Your doctor will order a genetic blood test to figure out if you have this condition. Since Huntington’s Disease is genetic, your parent or someone in your close family will have passed it to you. You may also have a CT scan or MRI to check for brain abnormalities.
Can Huntington’s Disease Be Cured?
Unfortunately, Huntington’s Disease is progressive and has no cure. However, there are many medications and treatments that can lessen the effects of the physical and mental symptoms.
Medications for tremors or gait problems are available, as well as medications for anxiety and depression that can help with the psychiatric symptoms.
If you’re dealing with anxiety from this condition, a therapist is another treatment option. A chronic illness therapist will be able to talk with you about your thoughts and feelings regarding Huntington’s Disease. Online therapy is also available for those who do not wish to leave home.
How Do I Know I Will Develop This Condition?
Although you cannot know for sure without testing, those who did not contract Huntington’s Disease genetically will not have it at all. If you know that your parent or grandparent had the condition, you can opt for early-on genetic testing to see if you have the genetic marker for it before you start to have symptoms.
If you learn early on that you have a genetic marker for the condition, you can start with preventative therapy before the first symptoms come. You can also start therapy and medication whenever you’re ready to.
If you do not know your biological parents or are unsure about your family history, you can still get genetic testing done. Some online genetic health tests provide information about your carrier status with certain conditions, including Huntington’s.
Learning you may have Huntington’s Disease can be scary. If you want to learn more about the condition and how to get help, check out BetterHelp’s online database of resources. They are one of the leading providers of online mental health care worldwide.
About the Author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.