What is Huntington’s Disease?

What is Huntington’s Disease?

Formerly known as “Huntington’s Chorea,” Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a progressively degenerative neurological genetic  disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation on the 4th chromosome. HD causes involuntary movements of the arms, legs and face that make eating, swallowing, walking and talking difficult and potentially impossible. Changes occur in thinking, judgment, and temperament. Depression is also common. Each child of an HD parent has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene  and inevitably developing the disease. Onset generally appears at midlife, but in some, onset occurs in childhood (juvenile HD) or in old age (late onset). This disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families, as the person with HD becomes totally dependent on others for his/her care. About one in 10,000 Americans has this disease. 2020 is the 27th anniversary of the discovery of the gene that produces HD, and the 37th anniversary of  finding  the marker for the gene. Since 1993, a genetic test has been available to those at-risk, to determine whether or not (s)he carries the HD gene. The test does not indicate at what age the disease will develop. Your contribution will support efforts to improve the lives of people affected by HD and their families, through programs of research, family services, education, and advocacy.

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