Understanding Huntington's disease

Huntington's is a hereditary disease affecting the areas in the brain which control movement, thinking and emotion. The onset of symptoms usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 50 and the disease progresses slowly over time. In Western countries Huntington’s occurs at a rate of seven to ten per 100,000 people.

The genetic mutation which is responsible for Huntington’s was discovered by scientists in 1993. Each child of a parent with Huntington’s carries a 50 per cent risk of inheriting the Huntington’s gene. If they do not inherit the gene, they and their descendants will not be affected.

Symptoms of Huntington’s disease

Symptoms usually develop in progressive stages and can be classified as cognitive, emotional and physical.

What are the cognitive symptoms of Huntington's disease?

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty in concentrating and planning

What are the emotional symptoms of Huntington's disease?

  • Depression
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Mood swings, apathy and aggression

What are the physical symptoms of Huntington's disease?

  • Mild twitching of the fingers and toes
  • Poor coordination and clumsiness
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Jerky involuntary movements of the arms or legs (chorea)
  • Problems with speaking and swallowing

MSWA supports people living with Huntington’s

Visit our Support and Services section to see how we can assist you.

Visit Support and Services

For more information about Huntington’s disease visit the Huntington’s WA website.

Visit Huntington's WA