How could a Middletons product help someone with Huntington's disease?

Written by
Helen West

Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that affects the body’s nervous system.

It can impact a person’s thinking and behaviour. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and personality changes.

The condition also has physical symptoms. The most common include involuntary jerking or fidgety movements, problems breathing, and clumsiness.

Although there is no cure, there are ways of managing the symptoms. A mobility product could improve the quality of life of a Huntington’s sufferer by providing additional support and helping to prevent injury.

How could a rise and recline chair ease the symptoms of Huntington’s disease?

One of the earliest indicators of Huntington’s disease is involuntary movements like jerking or writhing.

Individuals with the disease may experience spasms that cause them to slide forwards and out of a regular armchair. One way of preventing this is with a chair that allows you to sit with your pelvis situated lower than your knees.

Couple relaxing in Middletons Windsor rise and recline chair with high leg lift motor

A rise and recline chair could help by allowing you to find a comfortable, supported sitting position. Our high leg lift motor gently tilts your chair back, and makes it possible to sit with your feet above the level of your hips.

At Middletons, all of our chairs also come with a rise function. This makes it easier for you to sit down and stand up, and provides you with additional support during the process.

Could a walking stick or walking aid help me?

People with Huntington’s are likely to experience problems with their walking, including impaired gait, difficulties with their balance, and poor posture.

However, research conducted by the Huntington's Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University suggests that if you are still relatively mobile, a walking cane, walking frame, or wheeled walker could help you get around independently. 

Image showing a Middletons four wheel rollator and a woman using a walking cane

Walking sticks are commonly used by individuals in the early stages of Huntington's disease. They are unobtrusive and easy to carry around with you. Many of our walking canes feature ergonomically designed handles, which means that they are comfortable to grip even when used for long periods of time.

If you are concerned about your balance, our HurryCane  features a three point contact base for extra stability. The freestanding design means you can also use it for support when transferring from sitting to standing.

Walking frames, triwalkers, and rollators

 Rollators, triwalkers, and walking frames provide more support than walking sticks, while helping you to maintain a natural gait.

A walking frame is a frame that you need to lift in order to move around. A triwalker has three wheels and is designed to be pushed by the user. A rollator or four-wheeled walker has four wheels.

The Huntington's Outreach Project recommends four-wheeled walkers for individuals with Huntington's, as they have been shown to reduce stumbles and falls. Rollators or four-wheeled walkers are also easy to manoeuvre, while allowing you to maintain a more natural walking speed. If you are considering getting a walking aid, it's a good idea to try out a range of products to see which is best suited to your individual needs.

As your symptoms progress, you may need additional support or specialist equipment. It is always best to consult your doctor or care team when buying a product to help you with an ongoing health concern.

Read more: Have you heard of Huntington's disease?

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