Let's talk about Huntington’s disease

30 April 2021

Resident sat in his bedroom in care home

Huntington's disease is a progressive brain disorder caused by a defective gene in your DNA. The disease causes changes in the central area of the brain which affects your body’s nervous system. This can cause changes with movement, learning, thinking and emotions. 

In this blog, we talk more about Huntington’s disease and how our care homes support people living with it. 

What are the symptoms of Huntington’s disease and when do they start?

The symptoms of Huntington’s disease usually start between 30 and 50 years of age, but can start earlier in those who experience early onset Huntington’s disease. 

Symptoms of Huntington's disease can include:

  • difficulty concentrating and memory lapses
  • stumbling and clumsiness
  • involuntary jerking or fidgety movements of the limbs and body
  • mood swings and personality changes
  • speaking and breathing difficulties
  • difficulty moving. 


How is Huntington’s disease inherited? 

Huntington's disease is caused by a defective gene that results in parts of the brain becoming gradually damaged over time.

You're usually only at risk of developing it if one of your parents has or had it. Both men and women can get it.

If a parent has the Huntington's disease gene, there's a:

  • 50% chance of each of their children developing the condition
  • 50% chance of each of their children never developing the condition.

Very occasionally, it's possible to develop Huntington's disease without having a history of it in your family. But this is usually just because one of your parents was never diagnosed with it.

Specialist care for adults living with Huntington’s disease

People living with Huntington’s disease will often need specialist nursing care in the later stages of the condition. There's currently no cure for Huntington's disease or any way to stop it getting worse.

But treatment and support can help reduce some of the problems it causes, such as:

  • medicines for depression, mood swings and involuntary movements 
  • aids and equipment to help make everyday tasks easier
  • speech and language therapy for feeding and communication problems
  • physiotherapy to help with movement and balance. 


Our Huntington’s disease care services 

Exemplar Health Care has specialist nursing homes that support people living with Huntington’s disease. 

Our approach to care focuses on maximising independence and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible. This supports people to manage the symptoms of their Huntington’s disease diagnosis, and maintains their dignity as their condition progresses. 

Find a care home near you

Exemplar Health Care has care homes across England, in Yorkshire and Humber, the North East, North West and Midlands.

Find your local Huntington’s disease specialist care service here.

To make a referral, contact our Referrals Team by calling 01709 565777 or email referrals@exemplarhc.com.