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What are the symptoms of Huntington's chorea?

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Common symptoms of Huntington's chorea, commonly referred to as Huntington's disease, are broadly classified into three types: physical, mental and emotional, states Helpguide. Physical symptoms include impairments in voluntary and involuntary movements, while mental symptoms involve reduced concentration, poor judgment and memory lapses. Emotional symptoms constitute frequent mood swings, feelings of exhaustion and recurrent suicidal thoughts.

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During the Middle Ages, Huntington's disease was originally known as "chorea," meaning "dance" in Greek. The term was adopted as the name of the disorder due to one of its characteristic symptoms, which is the involuntary jerking, writhing and twisting dance-like motions of the people afflicted with the illness, notes MedicineNet. It was later renamed as "hereditary chorea," derived from the disorder's genetically related cause. Another name for the disease is "chronic progressive chorea," which clearly defines how symptoms may persist and progress through time. However, modern medicine uses the simple name "Huntington's disease" to encompass the wide range of symptoms triggered by this highly complex medical condition.

Huntington's disease causes a patient to experience muscular stiffness, irregular eye movements and problems with walking, posture and overall balance. Other functions that may be hampered include verbal articulation and swallowing. Physical symptoms often lead to a decline in a person's normal daily activities, such as communication and self-reliance in performing various tasks, according to Mayo Clinic.

Mental symptoms attributed to Huntington's disease generally involve trouble in processing thoughts and new information, loss of focus and lack of self-awareness. The emotional symptoms of Huntington's disease are often related to underlying psychiatric conditions, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and mania.

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