Parkinson’s and Huntington’s are both degenerative diseases that affect the brain. While they share some symptoms, they have distinct causes and tend to affect different populations.
Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease are both neurodegenerative diseases that progressively affect the central nervous system (CNS). These conditions occur when nerve cells in the CNS deteriorate and die over time.
While they share some similarities in their effect on movement, there are distinct differences between them. Parkinson’s occurs when there’s a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Huntington’s is a genetic disorder.
Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, including their causes, symptoms, possible treatment options, and outlooks.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that gradually affects movement.
Parkinson’s results from the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. This leads to decreased dopamine, a chemical that helps control movement and coordination.
While the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, experts believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors
Huntington’s disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes neurodegeneration of the brain. It results from a mutation in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene
These repeats in the genetic code result in the production of a mutant protein that accumulates in brain cells, leading to their death.
Role of basal ganglia in Parkinson’s and Huntington’s
The basal ganglia is a collection of brain structures that help with motor control and coordination.
Parkinson’s disease primarily affects the substantia nigra, a part of the basal ganglia,
Huntington’s disease directly affects the basal ganglia. It
Parkinson’s and Huntington’s are both neurodegenerative disorders that affect the CNS, but they have distinct symptoms.
In Parkinson’s disease, the primary symptoms are motor-related,
- tremors that occur when muscles are at rest
- muscle stiffness
- slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
- poor balance and coordination
On the other hand, Huntington’s disease symptoms relate to involuntary movements, such as:
- involuntary jerking movements (chorea)
- muscle contractions causing abnormal postures (dystonia)
- sudden, brief muscle twitches (myoclonus)
Huntington’s is a genetic disease, so doctors can confirm a diagnosis with a blood test. Because of this, it’s not common for doctors to misdiagnose other conditions as Huntington’s disease.
But if doctors do not suspect Huntington’s disease, they may misdiagnose it as something else,
Although Parkinson’s and Huntington’s may have some overlapping symptoms, an experienced neurologist can typically distinguish between the two.
Consider talking with a qualified healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis to differentiate between Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease accurately.
Parkinson’s treatment primarily focuses on managing symptoms and improving dopamine levels in the brain. Medications that can enhance dopamine function and reduce motor symptoms
- levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet)
- dopamine agonists like pramipexole
- monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B) inhibitors
Other treatment options for Parkinson’s include:
- deep brain stimulation
- physical and occupational therapy
- lifestyle strategies, such as getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet
The main goal of Huntington’s treatment is to manage motor and nonmotor symptoms. A healthcare professional
While Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition, its progression and severity can vary among people. With appropriate treatment and management, you may slow its progression and maintain a good quality of life.
How does Alzheimer’s differ from Parkinson’s and Huntington’s?
Parkinson’s and Huntington’s involve motor and cognitive symptoms. Huntington’s also causes psychiatric symptoms.
Alzheimer’s disease is a different neurodegenerative disease. It primarily affects memory and cognitive function. It
Although these diseases share some similar characteristics, they differ in their primary symptoms, progression, and underlying causes.
Some frequently asked questions about Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease include:
Which is more common: Parkinson’s or Huntington’s?
Parkinson’s disease is more common than Huntington’s disease. Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease (after Alzheimer’s), affecting more than 10 million people globally, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Huntington’s disease is rare, affecting
Can you prevent Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease?
Because Huntington’s is a genetic disease, you cannot prevent it. People born with an HTT gene mutation that causes 40 or more CAG repeats are predestined to develop Huntington’s.
There’s also no proven way to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but
What other conditions can mimic Parkinson’s or Huntington’s?
The psychiatric symptoms of Huntington’s disease
Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease are neurodegenerative conditions affecting the brain. While they share some similarities, each condition has distinct symptoms and requires different treatment approaches.
While both can cause issues with movement, Huntington’s is an inherited condition with symptoms that tend to start in middle adulthood. You may also experience psychiatric symptoms with Huntington’s.
Consider speaking with a doctor for accurate diagnosis and management.