After the onset of Huntington's disease, a person's functional abilities gradually worsen over time. The rate of disease progression and duration varies. The time from disease onset to death is often about 10 to 30 years. Juvenile onset usually results in death in fewer than 15 years.

The clinical depression associated with Huntington's disease may increase the risk of suicide. Some research suggests that the greater risk of suicide occurs before a diagnosis is made and in middle stages of the disease when a person has begun to lose independence.

Eventually, a person with Huntington's disease requires help with all activities of daily living and care. Late in the disease, he or she will likely be confined to a bed and unable to speak. However, a person's understanding of surroundings and interactions remain intact for a long time.

Common causes of death include:

  • Pneumonia or other infections
  • Injuries related to falls
  • Complications related to the inability to swallow
May. 05, 2011