Huntington's disease (gene found in 1993), is a hereditary, degenerative, and terminal brain disease. Huntington's disease is caused by a genetic defect on chromosome 4. Huntington's disease (HD) or Juvenile Huntington's disease (JHD), is an autosomal dominant disease. This means that only one parent must have the
mutated gene for a child to inherit the disease.
Huntington’s disease slowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, talk, and reason. It has been noted that symptoms of Huntington's disease can begin to show at ages 40-50, however we know that symptoms can
show much earlier in life. In time, the person with HD relies completely upon others for their personal care. HD affects the lives of entire families - emotionally, psychologically, socially, and economically. HD affects males, females, and knows no ethnic and racial boundaries. So many within the international community feels as
if Huntington's disease is like having Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Schizophrenia all at the same time!
Every child of a person with Huntington's disease has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the fatal gene.
Often, the individual with HD might seem to be (or act) "drunk" to the on-looker, due to the physical attributes of the disease. Juvenile HD (JHD) affects younger individuals. When a youth has a CAG of 60 or above, and is diagnosed at age 20 or before, the disease is called Juvenile Huntington's disease. Upwards of 5 percent of
known cases of Huntington's disease is the Juvenile form. Individuals who suffer with JHD experience the same challenges as individuals with HD, however the onset of physical and emotional symptoms happens earlier in life.
*Recent 2013 updated statistics specify that 1 out of every 7,000 people has HD.*