Chorea an abnormal movement disorder caused due to the hyperactivity of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain. Following are some of the telling signs and symptoms of chorea.
- Chorea causes irregular, uncontrolled, involuntary, and jerky movements which can alternate randomly from one part of the body to another. The involuntary movements can vary in severity form mild (mild intermittent exaggeration of gesture and expression and fidgeting movements of the hands) to severe (continuous flow of disabling and violent movements). In mild forms chorea may appear as semi-purposeful movement which can be difficult to distinguish from restless or fidgety behaviour. However, in the severe form, the involuntary movements of the arms or legs can lead to throwing whatever is in the hand or falling to the ground.
- Chorea can affect the both the proximal and distal muscles. The tone of the muscles is normal in most patients but in some patients the tone can be decreased (hypotonia). Patients with chorea are unable to maintain a sustained posture such as if they are asked to grip an object, they alternately squeeze and release it ("milkmaid's grip") or when they protrude the tongue, it often pops in and out of the mouth.
- Other symptoms seen in a person with chorea may vary depending on the cause. A person with Sydenham’s chorea (a symptom of rheumatic fever) can have swelling, pain, warmth, and tenderness around one or more joints. Arthritis and fever are the commonest symptoms in a person with acute rheumatic fever. In Huntington's disease, besides chorea, psychological disturbances and personality change such as apathy, social withdrawal, and agitation may also be present. Cognitive changes (loss of recent memory and impaired judgment) and mental decline become evident as the disease progresses.
These are some of the symptoms observed in people with chorea. If you have abnormal involuntary movements consult your doctor. He can inform you regarding the cause, treatment and prognosis.
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