Dementia is a general term for conditions associated with the progressive decline of the brain. There are many misconceptions about dementia and two of the most common are that it is a disease and memory loss is the main symptom. In fact, dementia describes a collection of symptoms associated with brain damage, and memory loss is not initially associated with certain types of dementia.
“It’s caused by a single defective gene on chromosome 4 – one of 23 human chromosomes that carry a person’s entire genetic code,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AS).
Another unique characteristic of Huntingdon is that it typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50, but can appear as young as two or up to 80, notes the AS.
READ MORE: Dementia warning: too much of a certain activity increases the risk of developing a disease
How to spot it
According to the health organization, the “hallmark” symptom of Huntington’s disease is uncontrolled movement in areas of the body.
These areas include the face, head, arms, legs and upper body, he says.
Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Faulty memory
- Depression – including a bad mood, a lack of interest in things, and feelings of hopelessness
- Stumbling and clumsiness
- Mood swings, such as irritability or aggressive behavior.
When to see your GP
“See your GP if you are concerned about having early symptoms of Huntington’s disease, especially if you have a history of the disease in your family,” advises the NHS.
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As the health care body points out, there are many things that can cause these symptoms, so it’s a good idea to have them checked.
“Your GP may suggest testing for Huntington’s disease,” he adds.
How to manage the symptoms
While there is currently no cure, there are many ways to get help for the symptoms and challenges associated with Huntington’s disease.
“It may be helpful to consider any lifestyle or practice changes you haven’t made yet that might make your life easier – for example, seeing well life, employment, emotional support and financial matters,” according to the Huntington’s Disease Association (HDA).
There are also different types of care that you may need to access at different times.
According to the HDA, these include:
- Social assistance – help with things like washing and dressing, which is organized privately or through the adult social services department of your local council.
- Medical care provided by healthcare professionals – involving neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, dieticians, speech-language pathologists and other professionals can also allow you to manage your symptoms more effectively and positively.
- Nursing home or nursing home care, if at some point this should be the best option for you or the person you are caring for.
‘If you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for NHS Continuing Health Care, which means the NHS is considered responsible for providing and fully funding all of your needs in any setting,’ he adds -he.
It could be in your own home, nursing home, or hospice.
There is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease or no way to prevent it from getting worse.
But treatment and support can help reduce some of the problems it causes.
According to the NHS, these include:
- Medicines for depression, mood swings and involuntary movements
- Occupational therapy to facilitate daily tasks
- Speech therapy for nutrition and communication problems
- Physiotherapy to help with movement and balance.
“The search for new treatments is underway and promising results have been obtained recently,” adds the health organization.