Who Is At Risk For Huntington’s Disease?
While everyone has the HD gene, only children who have inherited the expanded HD gene sequence will develop Huntington’s Disease. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene expansion themselves. If children do not inherit the gene expansion from their parents, they cannot pass it on to their children.**
Even though Huntington’s Disease does not discriminate based on ethnicity, race or sex, geographic clusters of HD exist around the world. Barranquitas, a small village in Venezuela, has the highest concentration of Huntington’s Disease in the world. Nearly half of the residents in Barranquitas have HD.
Huntington’s Disease Research
Scientists have studied Huntington’s Disease genetics for nearly a century in search of a cure. In 1993, researchers isolated the gene that is responsible for the cause of Huntington’s Disease, and soon after, a genetic test was developed to identify the HD gene expansion in at-risk individuals.
While some wish to know their test results before symptoms arise, many who are at risk of inherited diseases like HD prefer not to be tested.
Since the number of individuals diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease has increased significantly over the years, HD has become one of the more common genetic diseases and is no longer classified with other rare genetic disorders.
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) estimates that one in every 10,000 Americans has HD, and more than 250,000 are at risk of inheriting it.**
**Facts and information sourced from http://hdsa.org/.