How can I take care of myself if I have Huntington's disease (HD)?

You can take several steps to have the best quality of life as the disease progresses, including:

  • Get regular exercise: Research shows exercise helps reduce symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy diet: You may need extra nutrition. People can burn up to 5,000 calories a day through unintended movements.
  • Drink plenty of water: When swallowing becomes difficult, you can easily become dehydrated.
  • Find a support group: Ask your doctor for community resources where you can connect with others affected by the disease.
  • Research care services: At some point, you’ll need a high level of care from either home care services or a nursing home.
  • Appoint a trusted advisor: As the disease progresses, you’ll have to pass financial duties and important decision-making to someone else.

Remember, although you can’t prevent Huntington’s disease, you can plan for it. Symptoms take years to worsen. That gives you time to find healthcare providers you trust and get the support you need for the future. If you or someone in your family has Huntington’s disease, talk with a genetic counselor about what you need to know.

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