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My grandfather had HD, what are my chances of having it?

June 29, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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My grandfather had HD, what are my chances of having it?

Q. My grandfather had Huntington’s..I’ve also had 2 aunts pass away with with.. now have 3 cousins diagnosed with HD. My dad hasn’t been tested and as far as I can tell doesn’t show signs. What are my chances of having HD?

Lisa, young adult, USA

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A. Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your question. Your dad would have started life with a 50% chance of inheriting either the normal or faulty copy of the HD gene from your grandfather. Your risk would have been 25% at the time you were born. The risks for your dad and yourself are now somewhat less (difficult to put an exact figure on this) as time has passed and he is not showing signs of the condition. The fact that your aunts have sadly died from HD already whilst your dad remains apparently well, makes it more likely that he has inherited the normal copy of the HD gene. I’m not sure what age your dad is now, and whether for example he is younger than your aunts? Is HD something you can talk to your dad about? Your dad may not be aware that you are wondering what your chances are of developing HD. If you or your dad would like any help accessing a genetic centre in Indiana, do let us know. They would be in a position take a detailed family tree and to provide you with more information about HD and options tailored to your particular family situation.

All the best