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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare, degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia. The progression of the disease is rapid, causing cognitive impairment as well as physical problems while running its course. There are several variants of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease being studied, but symptoms are similar across types.

What are the types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is part of a group of animal and human diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These diseases cause characteristic spongy holes in the brain when viewed under a microscope. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the most common of all TSEs, and typical onset of CJD occurs around age 60.

There are three major categories of CJD. They include:

  • Sporadic CJD – This is the most common form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It accounts for at least 85 percent of all cases. People with this variant have no known risk factors for the disease.
  • Hereditary CJD – About five to ten percent of all CJD cases in the United States are hereditary. These people have a family history of the disease or test positive for a genetic mutation associated with CJD.
  • Acquired CJD – In this type, CJD is transmitted after exposure to brain or nervous tissue. This type of exposure can happen during a medical procedure, but is extremely rare. Since Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was first identified in 1920, fewer than one percent of cases has been acquired CJD. 

What are the symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

Symptoms of CJD appear quickly and progress rapidly. The symptoms people exhibit when they are diagnosed with CJD can include the following:

  • Rapid mental deterioration, usually over just a few months
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in personality
  • Blindness or impaired vision
  • Trouble with swallowing or speaking
  • Changes in movement – may become sudden or jerky

While the symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may seem similar to other progressive neurological disorders, a person with CJD will experience much more rapid deterioration than someone who has Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

How is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease treated?

There are currently no drug treatments available to stop or slow the progression or CJD. Care focuses on the comfort of the person who has the disease and management of symptoms. Many people find that home care for a person who has CJD is extremely difficult, and they seek experienced, professional help in a residential memory care community.

How can Parc Provence help?

A diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is extremely difficult to bear. At Parc Provence, we have experience helping our residents and their families at every stage of this disorder. We support both our residents and their families, providing the highest quality care for residents while giving their families peace of mind.

If you or a loved one would like to know more about the proven, compassionate care at Parc Provence, contact us today. We would love to talk to you about our services and schedule your tour.