Huntington's disease is a genetic disease that affects muscle coordination and cognitive functions in your body and brain.

It is a disorder that children have a 50% chance of having the disease if their parent has HD(Huntington's disease). The disease effects the nervous system because it causes death of nerve cells, the areas that have the greatest nerve death are the areas deep within the brain that control movement. Cell death also occurs in the cortex of the brain, so thinking, memories, perceptive abilities, and voluntary muscle activity are greatly affected. Research seems to indicate that unusual amounts of glutamine concentrates in the nucleus of cells, which causes the cells to die. Most of the victims see their symptoms appear at 35-45 years old, and they die ranging from 10-20 years later.

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The way you can tell if someone has HD is to test for the genetic disorder, if they have a family history. You can look for symptoms. The symptoms are chorea(odd unintentional movements), decrease in thinking abilities, and emotional difficulties. Once the disease has progressed the person will experience a twisting movement of the body that is uncontrollable and has no purpose. They even have the movements in their sleep, speaking and walking become impossible. As bad as the movements are the emotional and personality changes may be worse. Violent outbursts,suicide, and dementia can be part of what happens to the victims.
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All people have the gene that causes Huntington's disease. However not everyone gets the disease, it occurs when the protein for Huntington is mutated. When a person has the mutation the disease symptoms will start to occur. The mutation occurs because of the length of a certain gene can change. This change results in the disease.

Brunner & Suddarth's Textbook of Medical- Surgical Nursing