Huntington's Chorea and Receiving Social Security Disability
Huntington's chorea is a disease that destroys neurons (nerve cells) in the parts of your brain that are involved with emotions, movement and intellect. Huntingtons chorea is a progressive, degenerative disease that results in certain of these nerve cells in your brain wasting away.
Anyone from age 2 to over age 80 can develop Huntingtons chorea. However, it is usually during middle age that the signs and symptoms of this disease begin to appear.
It is estimated that around 30,000 people have Huntingtons chorea in the United States. This disease affects both men and women and all ethnic groups.
The word "chorea" comes from the Greek word for "dance". It is used for the incessant involuntary, quick, jerky, movements that mark Huntingtons chorea.
Huntingtons chorea is an inherited disease that is due to only one single abnormal (defective) gene. It is referred to as an autosomal dominant disorder because only one copy of the defective gene from either parent is necessary for the disease to occur. There is a 50% chance that you will get the defective gene if either of your parents has it. If you do not inherit the defective gene, you will not get Huntingtons chorea or pass it on to the next generation. Everyone who has this mutated gene will get the disease if they live long enough.
Some of the earliest signs and symptoms of Huntingtons chorea are personality changes and decreased cognitive abilities. Some indications of this are anger, depression and irritability. Other signs and symptoms that may be an indication of Huntingtons chorea are difficulty learning new information, difficulties in remembering important information, answering questions and making decisions.
Some of the earliest physical signs and symptoms that you may experience are mild balance problems, involuntary facial movements like grimacing and clumsiness. As Huntingtons chorea progresses, other signs and symptoms include:
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Often times, adolescents who develop Huntingtons chorea have a more severe case that progresses faster. The signs and symptoms sometimes mimic Parkinsons disease with slow movement, muscle rigidity and tremors. Also, those who get the disease early may have seizures. Although it is rare, children can also develop Huntingtons chorea.
You or a loved one may be afflicted with Huntingtons chorea. Huntingtons chorea and/or complications that have been caused by it or other disorders that you have besides this disease may have led to you or your loved ones disability and inability to work.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Severe problems with balance and coordination
- Very slow movement and stiffness
- Sudden, involuntary, jerky movements (chorea) all over your body
- Unintended weight loss
- Difficulty in shifting your gaze without turning your head
- Slurred, hesitant or halting speech.