Huntington’s Disease vs Parkinson’s Disease – Differences


This article reveals the differences between Huntington’s disease vs Parkinson’s disease:

Huntington’s Disease (HD)

It an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that damages specific areas of the brain. This leads to cognitive and behavioral changes as well as movement difficulties.

This inherited illness is thought to affect about 1 in every 10,000 people. Both women and men with a family history of HD can inherit the disorder.

The highest prevalence of HD in the world is near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, where it affects 700 per 100,000 people.

The disorder was first described by George Huntington (1850 to 1916), an American physician.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the disease commonly appear in middle age and worsen over time. An individual with HD may live for 15 to 25 years after developing the first symptoms.

Emotional symptoms include:

  • aggression;
  • apathy;
  • mood swings;
  • behavioral problems;
  • depression (about 33% of patients experience depression).

Cognitive symptoms include:

  • difficulties in making plans and concentrating;
  • short-term memory loss.

Physical symptoms include:

  • swallowing and speech difficulties;
  • jerky movements of the arms or legs;
  • walking difficulties;
  • a tendency to knock things over;
  • lack of coordination;
  • mild twitching of the fingers and toes.

Complications

Cognitive problems can lead to social isolation. Also, dietary problems, swallowing problems, and sedentarism can cause incontinence, constipation, and weight loss.

Death commonly occurs from a secondary cause, like – pneumonia or heart failure.

Causesbrain

It is caused by a mutation in a single gene. The mutation in the disease is known as a CAG triplet repeat and a diagnosis is confirmed when a person has more than 40 repeats.

If one parent is affected, then there is a 50% chance that their child will have the disease. If a child does not inherit the defective gene from the affected parent, he can’t pass it on to his own children.

Risk Factors

The disease runs in the families, therefore, people born into families with a medical history of HD have a 50 percent probability of inheriting it.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis for HD may require a genetic test. Also, your doctor will conduct a cognitive assessment and physical examination, which involves testing a sufferer’s eye movements, thinking, movement, and balance.

Treatment

There is no cure for the disease. But, treatments can help manage some of the symptoms. They include:

  • medications to help with difficulty swallowing and jerky movements;
  • medications to alleviate changes in mood;
  • occupational therapy;
  • physiotherapy.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

It is a degenerative disease of the nervous system which causes disturbances in controlling, initiating, and coordinating movement. The disease was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson, a British physician.

PD is one of the most common movement disorders, affecting over 1 million people in the US. Both women and men can get it. Worldwide, the rates of PD will climb to around 40 million patients by the year 2030.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • tremor at rest – involuntary shaking which decreases with purposeful movement;
  • bradykinesia – it is defined as impaired dexterity, slowness of movement, drooling, decreased blinking, and expressionless face;
  • postural instability – loss of balance and strength;
  • rigidity – stiffness of the body’s core.

Other symptoms which may or may not occur:

  • cognitive impairment;
  • being stuck in place;
  • constipation;
  • dragging of one foot;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • stooped posture;
  • lowered voice volume;
  • small, cramped handwriting;
  • depression;
  • apathy;
  • insomnia;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • increased sweating;
  • drooling;
  • trouble completing work-related or everyday tasks;
  • skin problems;
  • urinary problems;
  • low blood pressure.

Note – symptoms typically appear when someone is older than 50 years old.

Complications

Possible complications include:

  • constipation;
  • bladder problems – having difficulty urinating;
  • rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder;
  • chewing and eating problems – this can lead to poor nutrition and choking;
  • anxiety or loss of motivation;
  • depression and emotional changes;
  • thinking difficulties.

Causes

PD is the result of the degeneration of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra (plays an essential role in reward and movement) in the midbrain. But, exactly why dopamine-producing cells degenerate is unclear.

Also, the affected brain cells of these individuals contain deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.

Risk Factors

People with long periods of exposure to pesticides have a higher risk of developing PD. Some studies have reported that PD is more common in men than in women, however, not all studies have shown this.

Genetics plays some role since around 12 percent of patients with PD have a parent or sibling who also has the disease.

Age – in the US, it is most common among people in their 70s and 80s.

Diagnosis

The doctor may check the sufferer’s sense of smell. Also, a neurological examination will evaluate the sufferer’s coordination, walking, and some simple hand tasks.

Treatment

In the present day, there is no cure for PD. Medications can lessen its symptoms for a few years. The most commonly used medication is levodopa, that is converted to dopamine in the brain.

Other classes of drugs used to counter the symptoms include:

  • anticholinergics (they block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the peripheral and the central nervous system);
  • cholinesterase inhibitors;
  • MAO-B inhibitors (they prevent the breakdown of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain);
  • dopamine agonists.

Huntington’s Disease vs Parkinson’s Disease – Differences

Huntington’s disease results from degeneration of neurons and structures deep within the brain, that are responsible for coordination and movement. It is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder. This actually means that you need to inherit one copy of the defective gene in order to develop the disorder.

Although symptoms of HD can develop at almost any age, they typically start when an individual is aged between 35 and 55 years old. Only 6 to 10 percent of the cases are Juvenile HD (starts before the age of 20 years old).

Parkinson’s disease is an age-related progressive deterioration of certain nerve systems in the brain, that affects balance, movement, and muscle control. Symptoms develop slowly and may start off with slight tremors in one hand.

References

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170621132904.htm
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(17)30161-8/fulltext
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through

Awakening State is an independently owned online magazine that seeks to bring together like-minded individuals focused on expanding their consciousness and personal growth.

2 Comments

Your email address will not be published.

  1. My husband was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease at 57.his symptoms were shuffling of feet,slurred speech, low volume speech, degradation of hand writing, horrible driving skills, right arm held at 45 degree angle, things were tough for me, but now he finally free from the disease with the help of total cure ultimate health home, he now walks properly and all symptoms has reversed, he had trouble with balance especially at night, getting into the shower and exiting it is difficult,getting into bed is also another thing he finds impossible.we had to find a better solution for his condition which has really helped him a lot,the biggest helped we had was ultimatehealthhome they walked us through the proper steps,am highly recommended this [email protected] to anyone who needs help.

  2. It was not a good experience, seeing your father whose brilliance had no match, totally became a shadow of himself. His doctors said the disease has no cure, just medications for treatment which had a lot of side effects were administered to him. Early 2018, while on the internet, I bumped into a story in HD, and I read about a cure through herbs with interest.. I researched more to be sure it was not a hoax.  In my quest, I contacted multivitamincare org herbs mentioned in the testimony. I got their herbal medicine for my father.. It’s been 3 years and he is perfectly okay and back to his laboratory work even at old age. For your loved ones with Huntington’s Disease HD, take them off English medicine and use multivitamincare org herbal treatment,im referring to anybody suffering from this  Huntington’s Disease HD condition and they have assurance about these treatments.