Huntington's Disease and climate change. Does it have an effect?

August 12, 2018

     Believe it or not there are still a few people that scoff at climate change, however the purpose of this article is not to debate opinions, or science, for that matter.  

     

 

 

For the past several years, American cities have been inundated with heat advisories and this year, for the first time, Canada was hit by record breaking heat of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in all ten provinces, from the Atlantic provinces to the Pacific coast, all at the same time. 

     It is estimated that in Europe, the extreme heat caused over 70,000 deaths last year alone. The bulk of the deaths from this heat were mainly from young children, the elderly and other vulnerable persons.

     Anyone in the HD community and those that are close to us know that stress is something those with HD need to avoid, if at all possible and many people in our community do not realize that extreme temperatures are a direct stressor and can cause symptoms of HD to be amplified and may even cause the condition to worsen, especially if the patient becomes dehydrated. 

     According to the UC Davis Medical Centre, persons with HD are prone to dehydration for a number of reasons, including cognitive impairment, making it difficult for the person to realize they are thirsty, motor abnormalities and chorea, and difficulty swallowing

     If the patient is tube fed, it may be necessary to increase the water intake portion of the feeding. In my wife Sheila's case, they increased it when they saw that she was sweating excessively. She is monitored very well, but caregivers or those responsible for someone with HD should also check to make sure the patient is not overlooked. 

     UC Davis offers important tips and information to help us identify dehydration and how to avoid it:

 

How to tell if someone is dehydrated:

 Increased Heart Rate