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My Dad has HD, am I likely to have it?

June 28, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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My Dad has HD, am I likely to have it?

Q. My Dad has HD, i was just wandering is it likely for me to get the disease now?

Peter, 14, Australia

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A. Hey Peter

Thank you for sending your question to HDYO. I am going to answer it in two parts. Firstly, if a parent has HD then the child has a 50% chance of inheriting the expanded HD gene. So there is a 50% chance that you don’t have the expanded gene that would cause HD. We can, with today’s technology, do genetic testing to find out if a person has inherited the expanded HD gene or not.

So we know that we can find out if someone has HD, but what we can’t do is tell when someone will develop symptoms of HD. However, based on general experiences we can say that people (who have the expanded HD gene) usually get HD between the ages of 30-50, and that getting HD at a young age such as 14 is very unlikely. Only around 10% of people who have HD develop symptoms when they are under 21. So it is quite rare and very unlikely you will develop HD at your age.

If you have any questions or concerns I am here to help.