If you have any signs or symptoms associated with Huntington's disease, you'll likely be referred to a neurologist after an initial visit to your family doctor.
A review of your symptoms, mental state, medical history and family medical history can all be important in the clinical assessment of a potential neurological disorder.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list that includes the following:
- Signs or symptoms — or any changes from "normal" that may be causing concern
- Recent changes or stresses in your life
- All medications — including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements — and doses you take
- Family history of Huntington's disease or other disorders that may cause movement disorders or psychiatric conditions
You may want a family member or friend to accompany you to your appointment. This person can provide support and offer a different perspective on the effect of symptoms on your functional abilities.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including the following:
May. 05, 2011
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or intermittent?
- Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with Huntington's disease?
- Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with another movement disorder or psychiatric disorder?
- Are you having trouble performing work, schoolwork or daily tasks?
- Has anyone in your family died young?
- Is anyone in your family in a nursing home?
- Is anyone in your family fidgety or moving all the time?
- Have you noticed a change in your general mood?
- Do you feel sad all of the time?
- Have you ever thought about suicide?
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- Rosenblatt A, et al. A physician's guide to the management of Huntington's disease. Huntington's Disease Society of America. http://www.hdsa.org/images/content/1/1/11682.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2011.
- Novak MJ, et al. Huntington's disease. British Medical Journal 2010;340:c3109.
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- Nance M. The juvenile HD handbook: A guide for families. Huntington's Disease Society of America. http://www.hdsa.org/images/content/1/1/11702.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2011.
- Paulsen JS, et al. Critical periods of suicide risk in Huntington's disease. The American Journal of Psychiatry 2005;162:725.
- Frank S, et al. Advances in the pharmacological management of Huntington's disease. Drugs 2010;70:561.
- Suchowersky O. Huntington disease: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 4, 2011.
- Katon W, et al. Initial treatment of depression in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 4, 2011.