treatment options huntingtons disease

Best treatment options for Huntington’s Disease

If you are looking for treatment options to cure Huntington’s disease completely, then you need to stop an think about what you are doing, because there is no treatment to reverse or cure this disease.

But there are many viable treatment options available to reduce the clinical symptoms of Huntington’s disease.

Normally, a person gets to know about his/her illness between age 30-50. By this time, they already have kids, a career and a life companion. They have to drop their plans and start a new journey towards fighting with this fatal disease.

With the latest treatment options, the symptoms of Huntington’s disease can be managed and patients physical, mental and emotional state can be kept up to the mark.

Let’s have a look at the best treatment options available to manage symptoms of Huntington’s Disease.

Physical Therapy

treatment options Huntingtons disease physical therapy

Would you be someone who can sit upright, walk to the bathroom without assistance and eat food with hands or someone who is helpless and needs external aid to be able to do everyday humdrum activities?

Huntington’s disease patients in late stages find it impossible to bear their own weight on their feet and as a result, live an immobile life. Studies show that with physical therapy it’s possible for them to maintain a good range of motion in their legs, also walk with the help of a walker.

A study by Bellarmine University, USA highlighted how community-based yoga can make a change in the lives of people affected by Huntington’s Disease.[1 ]

In this study, a certified yoga instructor examined the effects of Hatha Yoga on Huntington’s disease patients and collected data by asking participants and other instructors about their experiences during and after the yoga program.

The study concluded that Hatha Yoga brings mindfulness and fosters a sense of community in Huntington’s disease patients.

It can also be easily tailored for Huntington’s disease patients with physical limitations.

If you don’t find the services of a yoga instructor with specialization in Huntington’s disease patients, don’t hold back, you can advise a general yoga instructor to take your loved ones physical limitations into consideration.

Occupational Therapy

treatment options Huntingtons disease occupational therapy

Once diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, the patient might lose complete interest in his/her profession or hobbies that they might have cherished to do earlier.

If the patient doesn’t involve themselves in interesting activities, they will become very dull and might develop suicidal thoughts— which is very common with Huntington’s disease patients in the middle stages of the disease.

Occupational therapy helps people with their problems and disabilities by therapeutic use of daily activities.[2]

An Occupational therapist understands patients goals and makes a plan for their recovery. The therapist keeps track of patients progress and walks them through the journey of recovery until the goal is achieved.

According to HDSA, activities of daily living like bathing, toileting, dressing up, feeding and grooming have made meaningful improvements in function and quality of life of a Huntington’s disease patient.

HDSA along with the American Occupational Therapy Association(AOTA) conducts free courses and webinars for caregivers in the United States.

Speech and Language Therapy

Does your loved one have difficulty in talking, eating and drinking?

Speech and language therapy is one of the best treatment options for Huntington’s disease and you should consider enrolling them in a program.

It’s very important for a Huntington’s disease patient to be able to speak some basic sentences(greetings, make an emergency call, talk about their feelings etc) clearly.

A range of muscles and muscle groups are needed to coordinate together to generate proper speech. Movements of these facial muscles are planned and sequenced by our brain in milliseconds. Any trouble in this process causes motor speech disorder(two primary categories: apraxia and dysarthria) in Huntington’s disease patients.[3]

A speech and language therapist uses sensory feedback to make the Huntington’s disease patient aware of their faulty speech and incorrect use of words. They record a sample of patients voice and play them back to them so that the patient can distinguish his faulty speech from someone else’s correct one.

In later stages of Huntington’s disease the patient might develop severe speech impairments, in this case, a speech and language pathologist(SLP) can teach them other ways of communication like Augmentative and Alternative Communication(AAC).[4]

ACC allows patients to express their views and opinions without actually talking. Every one of us has been in situations where we had to use non-verbal ways to communicate a message. Passing written notes, making facial expressions, displaying certain body language etc are some of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication(AAC) we use every day in our lives. A Huntington’s disease patient is taught to take this innate skill to another level and use it as their only way of passing on information.[4]

Conclusion :

A physician can prescribe medication to reduce symptoms of Huntington’s disease but there is no complete cure for this disease.

Finding ways to make your loved one’s life better and more meaningful is the only one thing you should focus on doing.

In the middle and later stages of the disease physical, occupational and speech therapy is widely prescribed by the doctors to help a Huntington’s disease patient stay functional and productive.

You may also like to read a post on 5 must-know Huntington’s disease facts.

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