When cognitive decline is a result of Huntington's Disease then the diagnosis of Major or Mild Neurocognitive Disorder Due to Huntington's Disease is provided. For the diagnosis to be provided, Huntington's Disease or risk for Huntington's disease based on family history or genetic testing needs to occur before the cognitive decline. Also the criteria for major or mild neurocognitive disorder needs to be met, which a gradual and insidious progression. Lastly the neurocognitive disorder is not better explained by another medical condition.
Major neurocognitive disorder includes a significant decline from a previous level of performance in either complex attention, executive function, learning and memory, language, perceptual-motor, or social cognitive based on concern of a person who knows the informant or the clinical; and the impairment is documented by a standardised neuropsychological test or another quantified clinical assessment. Lastly the cognitive deficit is not better explained by another medical condition. On the other hand, mild neurocognitive disorder is when the person has a modest cognitive decline from a previous level of performance and the deficits does not interfere with the ability to be independent but needs greater effort or compensatory strategies are needed to cope.
Huntington's disease is a progressive genetic disorder and diagnosed from the ages of late 30s to early 40s. The person with Huntington's disease will usually have difficulty with memory retrieval, executive funcitoning and judgement early on. The person will have severy memory deficits as the disease progresses. Sypmtoms also include depression, irritability, anxiety and insidious changes in personality.
As Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder, a person over the age of 18 can have a test to identify if they have the gene, however this is not advised as he or she may become anxious by thinking they will end up with the disorder. There is a 50% change of a person with the gene to end up with the disorder.
Amereican Psychiatric Association. (2013). Neurocognitive disorders. In Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disoders DSM-5 (pp. 591-643). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
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