The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
When it comes to learning more about diseases and sicknesses, there are many reasons why you should. Firstly, it can expand your knowledge and internal information. It is never a bad thing to learn more about something you don’t understand.
Becoming more knowledgeable about diseases can also help you stay healthy. Some sicknesses are preventable and curable with the proper lifestyle habits.
Lastly, we should want to learn more about various illnesses because it can help us support those who need us most. Even if you do not personally know someone who lives with this illness, it can help you teach others.
Huntington’s Disease is a rare disease that is not talked about enough. Learn more about its cause, symptoms, and treatments. When you learn more about it, you can help support those living with it and their caretakers.
What Is Huntington’s Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Huntington’s disease is a rare, inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain”.
Huntington’s disease, also abbreviated as HD, is considered a rare disease that typically first appears in people between the ages of thirty and fifty. If symptoms and signs appear before a person reaches twenty, it is referred to as juvenile Huntington’s disease.
You can find other important and valuable information about Huntington’s Disease with BetterHelp; they have many resources available for those who wish to learn more.
What Is The Cause Of Huntington’s Disease?
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disease; this means that it is passed down from generation to generation. At least one parent must carry the defective Huntington gene, they are also likely to have the disease, as well.
It is caused by a defect in a person’s DNA. In your DNA you have a Huntington gene, people with HD have a defective Huntington gene. This gene defect causes a direct impact on how a person’s brain functions.
What Are The Symptoms?
Because Huntington’s Disease causes the deterioration of brain cells and function, there are both physical and mental symptoms caused by this disease.
The most common physical symptom of Huntington’s Disease, HD, is untrollable movement. Those that live with this illness will lose control over their muscles and limbs. It often affects a person’s arms, legs, head, face, and upper body. It can cause their body to shake, spasm, or become rigid.
In addition to physical symptoms, a person will undergo many mental symptoms, as well. For example, an individual with HD is prone to aggression, depression, and compulsive behavior. You may also notice that they will quickly lose their memory, ability to concentrate, and ability to make sound decisions.
What Are The Treatment Options?
There is technically no cure for Huntington’s disease, and treatment options only treat the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself. With that being said, there are many medications available that can help someone manage their physical and mental symptoms. Various therapies can also help with speech, movement, and behavioral concerns.
Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, movement assistant drugs, and mood-stabilizing drugs have been proven effective in the lives of those with Huntington’s disease. These medications help ease any uncontrollable behavioral concerns and physical ailments. For example, someone may take prescriptions to help ease erratic and hurtful spasms.
There are two therapies a person may try to alleviate both mental and physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease. Psychotherapy can help a person understand their condition in the early stages. Speech therapy can help a person communicate more effectively. Physical therapy can assist a person in their movements and muscle control.
How Can You Support Someone Living With Huntington’s Disease?
Offer Your Physical Support
When someone is living with Huntington’s disease, they will inevitably lose their ability to think clearly and control their physical body. If you are caring for someone with HD, you will have to care for them in more ways than one.
You can first start by helping them make judgment calls when they are not thinking clearly. Caretakers can also assist those with HD navigate their homes and from place to place. You may have to install equipment such as handrails, ramps, and handicap chairs for the individual in your life.
Find Mental Support For Yourself
Another way of properly supporting someone living with HD is to find support for yourself! Caring for someone with an incurable and uncontrollable disease can be incredibly taxing. You must find someone or a group you can lean on for support.
For example, consider attending therapy or a support group. Being surrounded by people who understand what you are going through can help you care for your loved one in a better way. Taking time to meet family members and friends outside of your caretaker duties can also be beneficial for your mental and emotional health!