DEGENERATIVE CHOREA - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, etc.


Chorea is a movement disorder characterized by a sudden involuntary or unpredictable movements. It is not a disease but a symptom of another neurological issue. This is often due to genetic conditions, head trauma, or infection.

A person’s speech, posture, or even the way he or she eats may be affected because of such disorder.


  • Huntington’s disease is caused by the breakdown of nerve cells in your brain. People with this kind of disease usually acquire it during birth. Chorea symptoms like involuntary jerking or writhing is often experienced by people with Huntington’s disease. A common symptom known as Milkmaid’s grip is also experienced.
  • Chorea-acanthocytosis is represented by misshapen red blood cells. It is a very rare genetic disorder that causes neurological abnormalities that affect the brain’s function.
  • Sydenham’s chorea is a type of movement disorder that mainly affects teenagers and children. It can also be caused by a rheumatic fever followed by a streptococcal infection.



Symptoms of chorea may range from minor to severe uncontrolled movements. It may even get worse that could affect the movement of the arms and legs.

The following are the common symptoms of individuals with chorea:

  • Grinding of teeth
  • Burping involuntarily
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing or eating
  • Biting of lip and tongue
  • Speech or communication problems
  • Involuntary speaking or slurred speech


There are a variety of conditions that can cause chorea. To have a definite diagnosis, your physician may require your detailed medical history.

The following questions may also be asked by your physician to help diagnose degenerative chorea:

  • When did you experience the symptoms?
  • Is stress affecting your chorea symptoms? Does it make the symptoms better or worse?
  • Do you have a family record of Huntington’s disease?
  • What kind of medications are you taking?

Laboratory tests may also help your physician detect chorea. For instance, a low copper level in your body can determine a genetic disorder that causes chorea known as Wilson’s disease.

Tests for spiky red blood cells may help determine chorea-acanthocytosis. Blood tests for thyroid or parathyroid hormones can also indicate metabolic or endocrine-related chorea.

Imaging studies that show brain activity may also be done to determine Huntington’s disease.


Degenerative Chorea can be treated depending on the type of chorea you have. Treatments aim to treat the underlying condition that could help with chorea symptoms.

Antipsychotic drugs and other medications may help treat Huntington’s disease. Sydenham’s chorea may also be treated using antibiotics. However, chorea which results from Parkinson’s disease is not treatable, but symptoms may be managed.


Medication for this kind of disease affects the dopamine levels of a person. Dopamine is a brain chemical that regulates thinking, movement, and pleasure in the brain.

The use of the following antipsychotic drugs may help reduce chorea:

  • Olanzapine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol

The use of anticonvulsants may also help reduce chorea symptoms.

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