If you suspect that you or your loved one may have Huntington’s, there are some early signs to be aware of. The medications known as INGREZZA (valbenazine), XENAZINE (tetrabenazine) and AUSTEDO (deutetrabenazine) can help manage symptoms of Huntington’s, though neither act as cures for the disease. This article outlines some of the early signs of Huntington’s to look out for:
1. Behavioral changes
Those who have Huntington’s disease often experience changes in their behavior early on. Mood swings, a lack of emotion, irritability, and depression are all examples of the changes that someone with Huntington’s may undergo. While all of these are general and can be linked to a variety of different causes, if Huntington’s is a condition that runs in your family, then it’s likely worth seeking out the advice of a medical professional.
2. Difficulty concentrating
Having difficulty concentrating can be a result of many things, from staying up all night with the baby to having ADHD or other related disorders. However, struggling to concentrate can also be an early sign for those with Huntington’s disease. This symptom is a manifestation of the cognitive decline that is characteristic for Huntington’s and it progresses as the disease does.
3. Memory lapses
For individuals with Huntington’s, lapses in memory can be an early sign of the disease. Forgetting facts, for instance, can be linked to the beginning decline of an affected person’s memory. Over time, this symptom is likely to progress and grow more severe.
4. Difficulty driving
While many people may have difficulty driving for any number of reasons—never learning how to parallel park, for example—this difficulty can also be a symptom of Huntington’s disease. In the early stages of cognitive decline, those affected by Huntington’s may find themselves struggling to concentrate on multiple tasks at once while driving. This can result in running red lights and stop signs, failing to drive in one’s own lane, and likewise dangerous road activity.
5. Learning difficulties
Due to the progressive loss of the brain’s nerve cells, those with Huntington’s may face learning difficulties as an early sign of the disease. This is true for school age children, as changes in cognition can impact their ability to learn and focus in class. Even so, children with Huntington’s disease can continue their education with assistance from the school that they attend.