Chorea is a neurological disorder which causes abnormal involuntary movements. The abnormal involuntary movements are caused due to the over activity of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the areas of the brain which control movement.
The characteristic feature of chorea is brief, irregular contractions that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but seem to move from one muscle to the next. Chorea can be defined as "a state of excessive, spontaneous movements, irregularly timed, non-repetitive, randomly distributed and abrupt in character.
Patients with chorea are unable to maintain a sustained posture. When chorea occurs with athetosis, it has twisting and writhing movements as well. Chorea causes irregular, uncontrolled, involuntary, and jerky movements which can alternate randomly from one part of the body to another. Chorea can also affect the both the proximal and distal muscles.
Other symptoms seen in a person with chorea may vary depending on the cause. These include swelling, pain, warmth, and tenderness around one or more joints. Personality change such as apathy, social withdrawal, and agitation may also be present.
There is no one standard treatment for chorea as the causes are varied. Treatment is started based on the type of chorea and the associated disease and most patients are given symptomatic treatment. The treatment for chorea may involve medications, supportive treatment for Huntington's disease and sedative drugs.
The severity of the involuntary movements can appear in the form of restlessness with mild erratic increase of gesture and expression. In severe cases, it can turn into a continuous flow of disabling, violent movements.
The prognosis for individuals with chorea varies depending on the type of chorea and the associated disease. Huntington's disease is a progressive, and ultimately, fatal disease. Syndenham's chorea is treatable and curable.
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