How Huntington’s disease progresses

Later on in the illness people experience many different symptoms which may include:

  • involuntary movements
  • difficulty in speech and swallowing
  • weight loss

as well as emotional changes resulting in:

  • stubbornness
  • frustration
  • mood swings
  • depression

Cognitive changes that people experience can result in a loss of drive. Initiative and organisational skills, which may result in the person appearing to be lazy. There also may be difficulty in concentrating on more than one activity at a time.

Sometimes, psychological problems, rather than the physical deterioration, cause more difficulties for both the person with Huntington’s disease and their carers. Some changes are definitely part of the disease process although they made be made worse by other factors. It is depressing to have a serious illness and extremely frustrating not to be able to do things which previously seemed simple.

In the later stages of the disease, full nursing care will be needed. Secondary illnesses, such as pneumonia, are often the actual cause of death.

More information

The information contained on this page is available to download from our fact sheets page.

HDA fact sheets

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