Huntington’s disease – 5 stages and their symptoms

Huntington’s disease – 5 stages and their symptoms

Huntington’s disease is a disorder in which the nerve cells of the brain progressively degenerate. Usually, individuals inherit this disorder. Huntington’s disease hampers individuals’ ability to think, move, and react to their environment. When one develops this disorder, its progress cannot be stopped. While there is no definitive cure for this disorder, knowing certain details, like its stages and symptoms, can help improve a patient’s quality of life. Here’s what one needs to know:

Huntington’s disease stages and symptoms
Here are the five stages and symptoms of Huntington’s disease:

1. Stage 1 (preclinical)
In this stage, patients show mild symptoms that indicate that their mental state may be affected. Signs such as anxiety, poor coordination, unusual irritability, perpetual anxiety, difficulty learning new things, and decision-making challenges are common in this stage. Usually, these symptoms go unnoticed; however, those experiencing them must undergo screening or biological tests for an accurate diagnosis.

2. Stage 2 (early)
The symptoms seen in the first stage become progressively more pronounced. Some of the additional symptoms of this stage are involuntary twitching in the toes, fingers, and face, extreme difficulty in concentrating, problems making complicated movements, severe depression, and loss of inhibition. It takes multiple years for people to pass from this stage to the next, but they will still be able to do things like driving, bathing, and eating on their own.

3. Stage 3 (middle)
In the middle stage, the symptoms are even more advanced. Individuals with this condition find it hard to carry on with their daily tasks and need help doing them. Motor impairments, involuntary twitching, extreme cognitive challenges, behavioral shifts, difficulty swallowing food, and emotional changes are a few symptoms to look out for.

4. Stage 4 (late)
Stage 4 often sees a dramatic increase in severe motor and cognitive impairments. In this condition, people are generally bedridden and need extensive help from their caregivers. Trouble sleeping, difficulty swallowing, and extensive communication challenges are a few signs that indicate that Huntington’s disease has progressed.

Phase 5 (advanced)
Stage 5 is the most physically and emotionally difficult phase of this disease. An individual with Hungtingon’s will find it difficult to maintain an upright posture and experience extreme cognitive decline. They might completely lose their ability to communicate at this stage and become susceptible to infections like pneumonia.

Healthcare professionals diagnose this disorder in people based on typical indicators like concentration difficulties, memory lapses, stumbling and clumsiness, depression, and mood swings.

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