Assembling your HD chorea care team1

Ask your primary care doctor and/or neurologist to refer you to other healthcare professionals who can help manage the various symptoms of Huntington’s disease. A strong healthcare support network for Huntington's chorea may include a:

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  • Physical therapist to assist in improving strength, mobility, balance, and function.
  • Occupational therapist to suggest methods that may improve your ability to perform everyday tasks.
  • Speech pathologist to address difficulties with speaking and communication.
  • Nutritionist or dietician to assist with diet, fluctuations in weight, and swallowing problems.
  • Psychiatrist or psychologist who can treat mental health conditions associated with HD, such as depression.
  • Therapist or counselor who can help everyone in your HD family manage stress and intense emotions.

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Making your home HD chorea friendly

People with Huntington's chorea may have difficulty with everyday activities such as eating, taking a drink, dressing themselves, and maintaining personal hygiene. Small adjustments throughout the home can improve safety and help lessen the impact HD chorea has on day-to-day tasks.1,2

In the kitchen

In the kitchen1:

  • Use durable plates, bowls, and non-stemmed glassware.
  • Use utensils with large handles.
  • Use non-skid placemats to prevent dishes from moving.
Picture of cupcake with purple sprinkles. Picture of cupcake with purple sprinkles.
In the bathroom

In the bathroom1,3:

  • Place a non-skid mat in the shower or bathtub.
  • Get a chair or bench for use in the shower.
  • Consider using an electronic toothbrush.
  • Install safety bars in the shower and by the toilet.
  • Avoid using bar soap as it’s slippery and easy to drop.
Picture of a wooden hair brush
in the living room and bedroom

In the living room and bedroom1,4:

  • Remove rugs or thick carpets to avoid tripping.
  • Ensure chairs have armrests and high backs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary furniture and ensure rooms are well-lit.
Picture of two purple shoes

Tips for healthy eating

The involuntary movements of Huntington's chorea burn a considerable amount of calories—patients may struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Incorporating nutrient-rich, calorie-dense foods may be beneficial to those with HD chorea.5

Add healthy fats

Avocados, nut butters such as peanut, almond, or cashew, and sesame tahini make great additions to any meal. Walnut, flax seed, avocado, and olive oils are also sources of healthy fats.5

Choose colorful foods5,6:

Red Fruits Red Fruits

Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit contain heart-healthy lycopene that may reduce inflammation.

Purple Fruits Purple Fruits

Purple fruits such as blackberries, grapes, and prunes contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that supports heart health.

Orange Foods Orange Foods

Orange foods such as carrots, mangoes, and sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids, which support immunity.

Green Vegetables Green Vegetables

Green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts contain isothiocyanates, which boost liver function.

Create a healthy eating environment

Schedule mealtimes, keep conversations simple, and remove distractions such as the TV or radio. Allow plenty of time for those with HD chorea to finish their meals.5

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References: 1. A Caregiver's Guide to Huntington's disease. Huntington’s Disease Society of America; 2011. Accessed December 16, 2020. http://hdsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/A-Caregivers-Guide-to-HD.pdf  2. Nance M, Paulsen JS, Rosenblatt A, Wheelock V. A Physician’s Guide to the Management of Huntington’s Disease. 3rd ed. Huntington’s Disease Society of America; 2011. Accessed December 16, 2020. http://hdsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PhysiciansGuide_3rd-Edition.pdf  3. Bathing & Grooming. Parkinson’s Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.parkinson.org/Living-with-Parkinsons/Managing-Parkinsons/Activities-of-Daily-Living/Bathing-and-Grooming  4. Home Safety. Parkinson’s Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.parkinson.org/Living-with-Parkinsons/Managing-Parkinsons/Activities-of-Daily-Living/Home-Safety  5. Nutrition and Huntington’s Disease: A Guide for Families. Huntington’s Disease Society of America; 2010. Accessed December 16, 2020. http://hdsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Nutrition-and-HD.pdf  6. Shaeffer J. Color me healthy—eating for a rainbow of benefits. Today’s Dietitian; 2008. Accessed December 16, 2020. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/110308p34.shtml