Huntington’s disease is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. The probability of each offspring inheriting an affected gene is 50%. Inheritance is independent of gender.
Who Is At Risk
Every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the expanded gene that causes the disease. If the child has not inherited this expanded gene, he or she will never develop the disease and cannot pass it on to their children.
The Scope of HD
Approximately 30,000 Americans have HD, but the devastating effects of the disease touch many more. Within a family, multiple generations may have inherited the disease. Those at-risk may experience tremendous stress from the uncertainty and sense of responsibility. In the community, lack of knowledge about HD may keep friends and neighbors from offering social and emotional support to the family, fostering unnecessary isolation. The Huntington’s Disease Society of America has a nationwide network that provides support and referrals for individuals with HD and their families.
HD affects both sexes and all races and ethnic groups around the world.