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Is HD in adolescence more severe?

January 18, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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Is HD in adolescence more severe?

Q. I would like to know if the HD that starts in adolescence is more aggressive/severe. I have a 21 year old daughter that started the disease at 15 years old. When I compare her with other family members I think her case is much more aggressive/severe.

Sandra, 37, Brazil

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A. Hi Sandra,

Thank you for your email. When HD starts in adolescence it is usually different. People with HD at that age tend to be more stiff or rigid and have difficulties with speech (the speech can go quiet). People who get HD at that age don’t usually get as many involuntary movements. In my experience, the illness tends to progress at a faster rate. You also have to take into consideration that adolescence is a very particular time in development, so it may be that some adolescent behaviours can be amplified by HD.

Of course, with HD, there are lots of exceptions so these are my general impressions.

With best wishes