Huntington's Disease (HD) is a rare degenerative brain disorder that can cause serious and debilitating mental and physical changes. The slow-progressing disease is an inherited disorder, caused by a defective gene. Usually symptoms began to appear when affected individuals reach middle age. Huntington's is one of the most devastating diseases to deal with. As the disease advances, neurons in the brain die - causing sufferers to experience slurred speech, jerky uncontrollable movements, anxiety, depression, impairments in cognitive ability, memory loss, seizures, sleep disturbances and a number of other possible symptoms.
Although research into HD is making progress; as of yet, no cure exists and there is no way to stop its progression. The disease impacts not only the individual sufferer, but the entire family unit. The affected individual is likely to require extensive care, supervision and financial assistance in the later stages of the disease.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 200,000 Americans carry the risk of inheriting the disease from a parent that is affected. In the 30,000 Americans that have already been diagnosed there is a 50 percent risk that they will pass the mutated gene responsible for Huntington's onto their children. By accessing a Huntington's disease test, individuals can find out if they have developed, or will develop HD.