Understanding Huntington Disease
What is Huntington Disease?
Huntington Disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease. HD is most often thought of as a movement disorder, but it also causes emotional and behavioral changes, and cognitive decline. The symptoms associated with HD usually become more severe over time. Currently there is not a cure for HD, but there are medications to manage the symptoms. There are also many other ways to improve a person’s independence and quality of life.
Is Huntington Disease Inherited?
Yes. HD is caused by a change in a gene and it is passed from a parent to a child. Every child of an individual who has HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene that causes HD and a 50% chance of not inheriting the gene. HD affects both men and women and all ethnicities. For people considering learning their personal chance of inheriting HD gene, a consultation with a genetic counselor will be helpful. Learn more about genetic counseling.
HD Care: At risk, Pre-symptomatic, Symptomatic
Information, clinical care, and research needs differ across the spectrum of HD. Our team will work with you and your family to find the right fit for your needs.
At risk individuals may connect with the HD Program through genetic counseling. Genetic counseling does not obligate a person to go forward with genetic testing. If the individual chooses, our program can provide genetic testing. Information on family planning, HD advocacy, and HD research are examples of areas that may be relevant for someone living at risk for HD.
For someone with the HD gene mutation who is pre-symptomatic, a neurological assessment may provide a helpful baseline, along with further assessments by psychiatry or neuropsychology if additional information is needed. Some pre-symptomatic individuals may not require clinical evaluation, such as those individuals focused on gathering information for family members, or finding ways to participate in research.
Our program cares for people with adult onset or juvenile onset HD. Dr. Testa and Dr. Rosenblatt will provide initial care assessments. Ongoing follow-up care will be provided as needed with consults from interdisciplinary team members to meet individual needs. Research and education about HD for family members and the community are key information areas for symptomatic individuals.
Make an Appointment
Please call (804) 360-4NOW (4669) to schedule an appointment.