Formerly known as St. Vitus's Dance, Huntington's Disease is a rare and hereditary neurodegenerative disease. It can manifest from birth or later in life, typically between the ages of 35 and 50, and rarely in individuals aged 15 to 25. The disease is caused by the degeneration of neurons and primarily affects the subcortical region of the brain.
Physical symptoms: Involuntary movements and spasms of the head, neck, and limbs, often characterized by jerky motions. These movements are often accompanied by episodes of loss of balance, lethargy, and coordination problems.
Psychological symptoms: Mental disturbances, depression, abnormal irritability, disorientation, and anxiety. These symptoms gradually progress to dementia in the later stages of the disease.
Frequent complications: Various infections such as pneumonia and pulmonary embolisms. Unfortunately, in most cases, these complications can lead to death about fifteen years after the onset of symptoms.
Diagnosing Huntington's Disease is challenging because its symptoms can vary from one patient to another and can closely resemble those of individuals with purely psychological disorders. A physician may conduct neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive function, but a definitive diagnosis can only be confirmed through an MRI or genetic testing.
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