The medical condition Chorea is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder classified under neurological disorders known as dyskinesias. This condition is characterized by jerky, involuntary movements that affect the face, hips and shoulders. Chorea symptoms can range from minor movements to profound uncontrollable movements of the legs and arms. This condition is usually a result of overactivity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in areas of the brain that control movement.
- Antipsychotic drugs; these block dopamine receptors and have antispasmodic effects. They include Haloperidol, Clozapine, Fluphenazine and Quetiapine.
- Anticonvulsant drugs: they help to manage neuropharmacological mechanisms. They include carbamazepine and valproic acid
- Benzodiazepines: these are prescribed to reduce GABA concentration. Examples include clonazepam
Chorea presents in various ways. There are a number of common chorea symptoms that feature in patients suffering from various forms of the condition. While there are some specific chorea symptoms for different types of the condition, there are a number of general symptoms affecting most patients. Below you will find a list of symptoms associated with chorea.
- Irregular movements that are non-repetitive and not rhythmic
- The movements seem to flow from one muscle to the next
- Athetosis: writhing, convoluted, slow and involuntary movements of toes, hands and fingers
- Difficulty when walking with odd leg movements and postures
- Movements occur without a conscious effort
- In serious conditions, slight movements become thrashing motions
Chorea causes vary and will depend on the type of chorea. This neurological disorder can occur in a variety of medical conditions as well as disorders. The following are some of the known chorea causes.
- Gluten sensitivity has been recently discovered to be an underlying cause of chorea
- The condition Neuroacanthocytosis is a genetic disorder known to cause chorea
- Sydenham’s chorea sometimes develops as a complication in children with rheumatic fever
- Complications arising from pregnancies can cause the chorea gravidarum condition
- Some Chorea conditions are caused by the use of medications such as antipsychotic and anticonvulsant medicines.
Chorea diagnosis can only be determined by a medical doctor after extensive medical history and tests. Tests include genetic tests because some conditions such as Wilson’s disease are hereditary. Others are acquired, and the causes here include autoimmune central nervous system disorders, AIDS and others. One of the most common forms of Chorea is Huntington’s disease. This is a genetic type of chorea which means it manifests generation after generation. You may be diagnosed with the following types of chorea:
- Chorea gravidarum
- Sydenham’s chorea
- Drug-induced chorea
- Metabolic and endocrine-related chorea
Currently there is no standard chorea treatment. However, doctors will recommend a chorea treatment depending on the type of chorea suffered. There are different kinds of this condition, and they include Chorea gravidarum, Sydenham’s chorea and Huntington’s disease. Therefore, chorea treatment will depend on the specific condition. Below you will find typical treatments for chorea.
- Huntington’s disease: use of dopamine antagonist medication. Doctors also prescribe the use of Tetrabenazine, which is an FDA-approved medicine for treatment of Huntington’s disease Chorea.
- Wilson’s disease: Chorea treatment due to this condition focuses on reducing copper levels in the body. The recommended medicines include chelating agents such as trientine hydrochloride, D-penicillamine and others.
- Sydenham’s chorea: The prescribed chorea treatment usually involves the use of antibiotic medicines as well as drug therapy. Medicines used include valproic acid and carbamazepine.