Back in 1956, a weathered looking, middle-aged man was found stumbling along the highway by the police in New Jersey. He was just 43 at the time, but he appeared much older. As they spoke to the man, they were convinced he might be mentally ill, but when he provided them an emergency phone number to call, the truth astonished them. They were in the company of the greatest American folk singer in history, Woody Guthrie, and it appeared he was hallucinating.
The author and singer of more than 3,000 classic songs, Guthrie was in the throes of dealing with the onset of what was then known as Huntington’s Chorea, the degenerative neurological disorder nearly unheard of at the time. In the coming days as his condition worsened, Guthrie would spend the next few years of his life in a series of New York State hospitals until his death at 55 years old.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a degenerative brain disorder which has devastated families for generations. At its onset, Huntington’s begins to slowly diminish the ability to think, eat, speak and reason, and the initial symptoms typically occur between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. In the case of Juvenile HD, symptoms have been detected in toddler-aged children, and while there is as yet a cure – and only one FDA-approved treatment – it only provides relief for a single symptom of the disease.
One central repository of expertise, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, stands as a Center of Excellence providing care to Huntington’s-striken families for nearly 20 years.
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America develops partnerships in their fight for a cure. The diagnosis of HD is based on genetic tests which involve taking a blood sample used to undertake DNA analysis. The testing determines whether the gene mutation particular to HD has occurred, but symptoms of the disease don’t have to be present to reveal the presence of Huntington’s.
It’s a good idea to make sure counseling services are in place to help deal with the results of the tests both before and after the procedure. The results are strictly confidential, but a positive test can mean the start of a difficult journey.
As with any terminal illness, health and life insurance can be difficult to obtain but guaranteed life insurance is available now – with no health questions asked and no medical exam.
Guaranteed acceptance policies are available for those between the ages of 40 and 80 up to $25,000, and rates are also guaranteed at the age you enroll and cannot be canceled because of changes in health.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Huntington’s, you may want to consider a life insurance option that is affordable and features a locked in monthly rate. Insurance can – and does – offer some consolation to the emotional and economic struggles associated with living under the shadow of Huntington’s diagnosis.
For more information, you can visit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America here…