Chorea is neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the body, which may sometimes appear like dance movements. They are irregular and do not follow any pattern and may move from one part of the body to another, usually involving the extremities and face. The involuntary movements may involve facial grimacing, grunting noises, tongue movement and jerking, seen even during rest. Mild forms of movement may involve restlessness or fidgety movements of the hands, while more severe forms may show as an unstable dance or a continuous flow of violent, disabling movements.
The exact cause is not known, but many factors can lead to chorea:
- Inherited disorders: Huntington’s disease, Wilson’s disease
- Infectious disorders: AIDS, meningitis, encephalitis
- Immune disorders: Rheumatic fever, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis
- Endocrine disorders: Hyperthyroidism
- Central nervous system tumours or trauma
To investigate your condition, your physician will perform a detailed review of your medical history and physical examination. You will be examined for signs of infection and neurological symptoms. Blood tests and imaging tests such as MRI are performed to determine the underlying condition.
Your treatment is based on the underlying condition causing chorea. If the cause is infection, your doctor prescribes antibiotics. Other medications including anticonvulsants and drugs that lower the brain chemical dopamine, may be prescribed. If symptoms do not improve with medication, your doctor may suggest deep brain stimulation, a surgical procedure where electrodes are implanted in the brain to regulate nerve activity.