Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
General information about symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This symptom information has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Furthermore, symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
List of symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: The list of symptoms mentioned in various sources for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease includes:
- Dementia - rapidly progressive
- Memory failure
- Muscular coordination problems
- Personality changes
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired thinking
- Impaired vision
- Unusual sensations
- Myoclonus - involuntary muscle jerks
Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: CJD is characterized as a rapidly progressive dementia. Initially, patients experience problems with muscular coordination; personality changes, including impaired memory, judgment, and thinking; and impaired vision. People with the disease also may experience insomnia, depression, or unusual sensations. CJD does not cause a fever or other flu-like symptoms. As the illness progresses, the patients' mental impairment becomes severe. They often develop involuntary muscle jerks called myoclonus, and they may go blind. They eventually lose the ability to move and speak and enter a coma. Pneumonia and other infections often occur in these patients and can lead to death.
There are several known variants of CJD. These variants differ somewhat in the symptoms and course of the disease. For example, a variant form of the disease — called new variant or variant (nv-CJD, v-CJD), described in Great Britain and France — begins primarily with psychiatric symptoms, affects younger patients than other types of CJD, and has a longer than usual duration from onset of symptoms to death. Another variant, called the panencephalopathic form, occurs primarily in Japan and has a relatively long course, with symptoms often progressing for several years. Scientists are trying to learn what causes these variations in symptoms and course of the disease. Some symptoms of CJD can be similar to symptoms of other progressive neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease. However, CJD causes unique changes in brain tissue which can be seen at autopsy. It also tends to cause more rapid deterioration of a person's abilities than Alzheimer's disease or most other types of dementia. 1
Clinical features of CJD include a neurological presentation, with dementia, and a progressive cerebellar syndrome including ataxia, gait, and speech abnormalities. In most patients, these symptoms are followed by involuntary movements and the appearance of a typical diagnostic electroencephalogram tracing. 2
CJD does not cause the same symptoms in everyone. Often, the first signs of CJD in hGH recipients were unsteadiness in walking, dizziness, clumsiness, and problems with balance. Later, they began to slur their words, lost muscle control, or had problems with vision, memory, or thinking clearly. Once symptoms began, the disease advanced quickly. In 2 to 3 months, patients could not walk or do other simple tasks.
Headaches are not a symptom of CJD. Mild symptoms that come and go over a long period, such as being clumsy, irritable, or forgetful, are not signs of CJD.3
More symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, underlying causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, associated conditions for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, risk factors for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or other related conditions.
Medical articles on symptoms: These general reference articles may be of interest:
1. excerpt from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Fact Sheet: NINDS
2. excerpt from Facts About Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: CDC-OC
3. excerpt from Update Follow-Up Study of NHPP Growth Hormone Recipients: NIDDK
Last revision: May 26, 2003
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