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Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

My dad had JHD, should I see a doctor?

HDYO has more information about HD available for young people, parents and professionals on our site:

www.hdyo.org

Q. My dad developed juvenile hd in high school at 35 years old over three years ago. Currently I am 17 and I have slurred speech, sometimes even I can’t understand what I’m saying, my family constantly asks me to repeat myself, over and over.

I’m very very clumsy I drop everything all the time constantly, it happens at least two / three times a day, my parents always carry my cup into the living room for me or carry my plate because I’m constantly dropping things. I’ll pick up whatever it is, get a tight grip on it because I know I’m gonna drop it and it still happens. I’ve started twitching lately, I’ll be sitting down with my family and my arm will twitch and I’ll clap to hide it cause it’s embarrassing, but it’s starting to happen more and more. I’ll just be watching tv and I’ll twitch out of nowhere, it comes at random times. I do have jaw clenching, but I also have tmj disorder so I’m not sure if the clenching is from that or hd, my family can tell when I’m clenching but I barely can. I have strong irritability / hostility for sure, and inability to take pleasure in life, and lack of energy. My dad had bad headaches and I definitely get them a lot but again I’m not sure if it’s my tmj to hd. There are times when my whole body shakes and I get rapid muscle twitching constantly so well. I’m reading the symptoms online and it says psychiatric and cognitive problems can lead to social isolation and depression. I’ve become very isolated the past few years, I used to hang out with friends constantly but last year I started going straight to the library when I got to school so I could be alone, at lunch I’d either stay in class or go back to the library to be alone, after school I’d go back to the library to miss the rush until 4:30, if there was an assembly one afternoon I’d leave at noon so I wouldn’t have to be with tons of people in a small gym, I wouldn’t talk to anyone during class but if I really had to it was really hard for me. After school I’d go right home, I hated hanging out with people, I’d make excuses. I hate going shopping or to a movie where there are lots of people, it makes me really nervous and now I’m homeschooled because I’m so alone and isolated at school. And I am depressed, for sure, and it seems to be impossible to get out of it.

The point of this long message is do you think I’m showing enough signs to go see a doctor or is it just me being paranoid?

Melinda

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A. Hi Melinda,

Thanks for your message. It’s really difficult to tell from your email whether or not these are symptoms of HD but you definitely need the advice of a specialist. You have lots of symptoms so I think you need to see a doctor to find out what they are. It also sounds like you have got quite isolated in your life, so it sounds like you need some kind of support alongside medical assessment.

So, the short answer to your question is: You should see a doctor about your symptoms, but I don’t know if they represent HD.

Best wishes

Hugh Rickards