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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Huntington's disease can affect:

  • Intellectual ability

    • Memory loss

    • Inattention

    • Dementia

  • Uncontrollable movements

    • Twitching

    • Clumsiness

    • Dance-like movements

    • Slurred speech

    • Difficulty walking

    • Difficulty swallowing

  • Uncontrollable emotions

    • Personality changes

    • Depression

    • Irritability

    • Anxiety or lack of emotions (apathy)

Symptoms vary from person to person. They also can change over time. They usually start as subtle differences and progress to profound disability.

Symptoms typically begin between ages 35 and 50. However, they can appear at any age.

Huntington's disease is rare in children. In children, behavioral problems and mental deterioration are prominent. Rigidity and seizures are common. Huntington's disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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