Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is marked by rapid mental deterioration, usually within a few months. Initial signs and symptoms typically include:
- Personality changes
- Memory loss
- Impaired thinking
- Blurred vision or blindness
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sudden, jerky movements
As the disease progresses, mental symptoms worsen. Most people eventually lapse into a coma. Heart failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia or other infections are generally the cause of death. Death usually occurs within a year.
In people with the rarer vCJD, psychiatric symptoms may be more prominent in the beginning, with dementia — the loss of the ability to think, reason and remember — developing later in the illness. In addition, this variant affects people at a younger age than classic CJD does and appears to have a slightly longer duration — 12 to 14 months.
Sept. 09, 2015
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cjd/detail_cjd.htm. Accessed July 30, 2015.
- Relationship with BSE (mad cow disease). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/prions/vcjd/relationship-with-bse.html. Accessed July 30, 2015.
- Brown HG, et al. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 30, 2015.
- Brown HG, et al. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 30, 2015.