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How can I help my mother with diet and exercise?

November 26, 2013

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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How can I help my mother with diet and exercise?

Q. Good night, this year, in July, my mother, who is 45, exhibited severe seizures, being hospitalized several times. The diagnosis was HD, which was confirmed with a genetic test.

I’m the oldest daughter and I would like to receive information about eating/diet and what kind of exercise I can help her to do, because the doctor thinks that the disease was already present for some time and my mother has been showing severe worsening. She is also very reserved, she doesn’t like to receive visits or to go out, so it’s being hard to convince her to go and see the physiotherapist or to let any professional to come to the house. To improve her well-being, I would like to know how can I help her.


Etienne, 22, Brazil

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A. Dear Etienne,

Thanks for the email.

From the point of view of diet, it’s important to try and prevent weight loss, which can happen in some people with HD. A lot of people with HD will need extra calories during the day to maintain weight. There are no special diets which help HD but I would recommend a balanced diet in the usual way. Don’t restrict certain food groups.

Most people think that some exercise each day is good for HD. If it’s possible for your mother, half an hour of what ever exercise she can manage would be great. This depends on what she is able to do.

With best wishes

Hugh Rickards