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 physical, cognitive and emotional.

CognitiveEmotionalPhysical
Short-term memory lossDepressionMild twitching of the fingers and toes
Difficulty in concentrating and planningChallenging behaviourPoor coordination, clumsiness
Mood swings, apathy and aggressionDifficulty 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