May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness month and Bay Alarm Medical has teamed up with Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) in an effort to spread awareness of the fatal disease.
One out of every 10,000 Americans has HD and approximately 250,000 Americans are at risk of the developing the disease. Bay Alarm Medical will continue to work closely with HDSA to educate and inspire those affected by the disease.
What is Huntington’s Disease?
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a degenerative brain disorder that causes progressive breakdown of nerve cells and essentially deteriorates one’s physical and mental abilities.
Symptoms of HD typically evolve slowly and because it is a hereditary disorder, it varies depending on not only the person, but also their family. Individuals may experience impairment of cognitive skills in the beginning stages, while others may have motor skill or emotional behavior problems. Many actually describe the symptoms of HD as a combination of ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Who is at risk?
According to HDSA, one out of every 10,000 Americans has HD. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene that causes the disease.
It does not skip generations. However, if the child does not inherit the gene, he or she cannot pass it on. A child who inherits the gene will develop the disease as well as have the ability to pass it on if they were to have children.
What is the prognosis?
As of right now, there is no effective treatment or cure to stop the progression or reverse the course of HD.
What is the lifespan of one with HD?
HD can affect children and teenagers, which is known as Juvenile HD. The progression rate is much quicker in those with an earlier onset, which causes death to occur within 10 years or less. Life expectancy in adult onset HD is about 10-25 years.
What is the cause of death for people with HD?
Most people do not die as a direct result of the disorder itself, but rather from medical complications that arise from effects of HD (pneumonia, choking, infections).
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has taken large steps in developing a nationwide network to provide not only support to those with HD, but information on genetic testing, family planning and other research dedicated to curing the deadly disease.
Want to help?
There are many ways to help and support. Contact an HDSA chapter near you or visit the HDSA website to find a list of ways to get involved and help those with HD.
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