Coping with a Diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease

Former TV news reporter Charles Sabine says that of all the terrifying events he’s faced in his life – including shootings and bombings in various war-torn countries – nothing could prepare him for the devastating diagnosis that soon will change his life irrevocably. After watching both his father and his brother slowly deteriorate from Huntington’s disease, Charles joins The Doctors and Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall to raise awareness for the condition that will eventually take his life.

Huntington’s disease is a rare, incurable genetic disorder, which causes the progressive breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain and impacts movement and cognition. It affects approximately one in every 10,000 people and is caused by an inherited defect in a particular gene. Every child of a parent with Huntington’s has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene. The disease typically presents when the patient is in his or her 30s or 40s. Though the rate of progression may vary, eventually all Huntington’s patients require assistance with the activities of daily living. 

Genetic testing can determine whether you or a loved one has inherited the gene for Huntington’s. Charles notes happily that neither of his two children has inherited it.

Although the condition is incurable, there are several ways to improve a patient’s well-being and quality of life. Charles notes that establishing a strong support network is crucial, and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms or potentially delay their progression.

"I don't want anyone from a Huntington's family to listen to anyone who says that there's nothing you can do about this disease," Charles adds. "There's plenty you can do about your lifestyle and your environment to offset the onset of the disease."

For more information about Huntington’s disease, visit HDSA.org and GetHealthyStayHealthy.com.

Sponsored by Pfizer.

Please help keep the community civil. The Doctors moderates this forum and all comments must follow TheDoctorsTV.com Community Guidelines and New Terms of Use . The Doctors reserves the right to use the comments you submit in whole or in part, and to use the commenter’s name and location, in any medium. Note that DISQUS operates this forum and you must log-in or register with DISQUS to participate.