Huntington's Disease Symptoms

Huntington's disease is a genetic condition that affects certain nerve cells in the brain and causes brain damage. This can lead to disorders in movement, cognition and behavior. Although symptoms of the disease can develop at almost any age, they usually begin when a person is aged between 35 and 55 years old.

Some of the symptoms seen in Huntington's disease are described below:

  • Early symptoms of the disease include personality and behavioral changes, although these are often overlooked initially. Mood swings, apathy, anger, difficulty concentrating and loss of short term memory are typical early symptoms. Lack of motivation and drive are also other early behavioural features that may develop and a person with Huntington's may even start to neglect their own self care or hygiene routines.
  • The condition can cause uncontrolled facial movements and sudden, abrupt movements of the body and limbs. Such movement disorders are termed “chorea,” after the Greek word for dance. Huntington's disease is one of the main diseases to cause chorea and the condition was originally termed Huntington's chorea. As the disease advances, these movement disorders become more severe and more frequent.
  • Depression is another common feature of Huntington's disease and can occur as a reaction to the diagnosis as well as part of the disease's pathology. A persistent low mood, crying and feelings of despair are typical. Obsessive behavioral patterns may also develop and some individuals become schizophrenic.
  • A patient's cognitive ability and communication skills such as perception, thought and judgement are affected. Sufferers may find it difficult to organize their thoughts enough to express them in words. Often, they can comprehend what is being said to them but cannot actually acknowledge that they understand or respond properly.
  • The disease gradually worsens over a period of between 10 and 20 years and eventually patients require full-time palliative care. Death usually occurs as a result of a secondary cause such as pneumonia, heart failure or infection.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2019, February 26). Huntington's Disease Symptoms. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 13, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Huntington's Disease Symptoms". News-Medical. 13 July 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Huntington's Disease Symptoms". News-Medical. (accessed July 13, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2019. Huntington's Disease Symptoms. News-Medical, viewed 13 July 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.