The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards until 15/07/2017
Every person is likely to have different symptoms of HD that will affect their lives and ability to live independently in different ways. It can be overwhelming to think about all the challenges you might face. Remember that these changes happen over time and people can find ways of dealing with issues, one at a time. You can continue to live your life with HD, especially if you make use of the support services available to you.
Some people first notice changes in their motor control. This can lead to involuntary movements, which you might notice as jerks or twitches or exaggerated gestures. Sometimes slight changes in balance and coordination occur, which can lead to clumsiness or difficulty carrying out tasks that need fine movement control Some other people with the illness may first experience changes in mood, for example, having sudden changes in mood or being more irritable. Depression and anxiety can also occur. Many people with early symptoms also say that they have more difficulty concentrating or planning. You may also feel more fatigued or find it harder to get motivated.
The ways in which this might affect your day-to-day life are varied but can include: finding it harder to concentrate when driving or feeling less motivated in your job. It could also mean that you are less tolerant of people or that you find yourself getting angry with a partner over things that would not normally bother you.
Sometimes you will not notice any changes in yourself while close family members or friends do see changes. This happens for a variety of reasons. Changes can be very small and hard to notice. Sometimes people are not ready to accept that they have symptoms. In some people, HD seems to make them less aware of symptoms. This is normal, but it is important that family members, friends and carers are aware that this is the case rather than assuming that you are refusing to deal with what is happening.
Things you can do to maintain your independence and way of life