Symptoms of Huntington's Disease

The signs of Huntington's disease are mild in the initial stages and progresses to marked symptoms in the latter stages. Signs help the physician to track the progress of the disease. They include the following.

  • An erratic mood pattern can often precede the onset of the symptoms of Huntington's disease. Some persons experience a bout of depression and go into seclusion from their normal social life.
  • In early stages of Huntington's disease, uncontrolled movements, clumsiness while moving about, short - term memory lapses and mood swings can be seen in the person.
  • As the disease progresses, the person begins to slur in his speech as he struggles to mouth his thoughts. Intake of food is a cumbersome task as his movements are no longer in coordination. He might also experience difficulty in swallowing and it is better to consume fluids of a thicker consistency than plain water or other drinks.
  • The person now displays jerky motions; the limbs and torso keep fidgeting and the lack of control increases as the disease advances. In due time, the movements lessen and the muscles become rigid. Emotionally, the person oscillates between aggression, excitement, lack of emotion and an expression of apathy. The individual also finds it difficult to focus and to streamline his thoughts and actions.
  • Throughout the varying stages of Huntington's disease, loss of weight is a noticeable symptom. This also reduces the immunity level of the person making him more susceptible to other infections.
  • In the latter stages of the disease, swallowing is extremely difficult and choking on food or water is also possible. Then, a tube inserted directly into the abdomen is used for intake of food and water. This is done under the careful monitoring of the caregiver.