I have symptoms, should I test for HD?
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Q. Over the past few years I’ve noticed a substantial decline in my speech and movements. I often struggle to get words out and sentences tend to jumble together and I’ve also developed a bit of a stutter that I’ve never had before. Learning new concepts is proving to be more challenging than ever, and it is effecting my performance at university. I’ve always been a clumsy person but lately it’s been so challenging that I have to shuffle around so that I don’t slip or stumble. I also have uncontrollable hand and feet tremors several times a day. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was about 11, and it’s been getting worse so I am taking an antidepressant which has been helping, but overall all of these symptoms are making me worry constantly. I don’t know where to draw the line between feeling like a hypochondriac and actually having a disorder/disease. I do not have access to my biological father’s medical history, but I do know that HD does not run on my mom’s side. Would it be foolish of me to want to get a genetic test for HD?
Erica, 21, USA
A. Dear Erica,
Thanks for the email. Sounds like you are having a difficult time of it. Unless there is a clear history of HD in one side of the family or other, then I don’t think an HD test is the priority. It’s difficult to tell from your email what the problem is so I would advise you to discuss this with your local physician, who should be able to put the physical and mental symptoms you have been experiencing into context.