Skip to main content

Movement and Physical Changes

Movement and Physical Changes

HD Changes the Way You Move 

Understanding how HD affects movement is important to understanding Huntington’s disease. This symptom often causes confusion among caregivers and family members.  

Often, someone with HD will move—or not move—in such a way that they seem careless, bored, angry, depressed, disinterested, or irritated.  

In most cases, the person with HD is having an involuntary movement or an impaired voluntary movement. This can result in slurring speech, swallowing difficulties, problems with balance, and falling.  

Common movement issues of HD include: 

  • Less facial expression (facial masking or Hypomimia)

  • Poor eye contact.

  • Difficulty maintaining a smile during conversation.

  • Leaning to one side, slouching, or other changes in posture.

  • Loud, abrupt speech or responses.

  • Quiet or monotone speech.

  • Moving slowly (Bradykinesia)

  • Slow to start moving (Akinesia)

  • Difficulty doing activities in a sequence.

  • Jerky, irregular, unpredictable movements (Chorea/Dystonia)

  • Twisting and repetitive movements such as hand clenching or foot twisting (Dystonia).

With these spoken and unspoken traits of HD, it’s easy to assume your friend or loved one isn’t interested in speaking with you or engaging in a conversation, the exact opposite is frequently true.