Huntingtons disease is a hereditary disease that causes brain degeneration and affects 30,000 Americans. Impaired cognitive function, movement, and psychiatric disorders are common side-effects of Huntington’s Disease. Named after Doctor George Huntington, the first physician to publish about the disease in 1872, symptoms generally develop between the ages of 30 and 50, however they can appear at ages as young as 2 or as old as 80. The main symptoms are uncontrolled body movements and a decline in thinking and reasoning skills. It can affect memory, concentration, judgment and planning abilities, mood alterations including depression, anxiety, anger and irritability. It can also lead to obsessive compulsive behavior.
There is no cure for Huntington’s disease, but its symptoms can be treated to improve the patient’s quality of life. Physical therapy can prolong mobility, coordination, balance, and flexibility. Occupational therapy can help with activities of daily living offering alternative ways of completing tasks. Swallowing and eating problems can be addressed with speech therapy.
Maintaining strength and a healthy body weight is important so that the patient has the muscle mass to continue doing everyday tasks. Adding physical and occupational therapy helps patients maintain a healthy outlook both mentally and physically. These therapies can alleviate depression, apathy and the greater likelihood of contracting infections. Exercise, social and psychological support are important for patients with Huntingtons disease. Their medication needs to be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are receiving the most effective treatment.
Because the disease affects individuals differently, treatment needs to be customized for each patient. HealthNow Home Healthcare professionals can develop a treatment plan that includes therapy, medication management, and assistance with activities of daily living. Some of the available services include:
HealthNow Home Healthcare professionals can also provide extra in-home services if necessary, such as: