WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, is a disease of the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spine, and nerves. With CJD, the cells and tissues of the nervous system are damaged. This results in loss of mental, emotional and physical functions. CJD is caused by a form of a protein known as prion. Prions are normally found in the cells and tissues of many body organs including the brain.
- CJD can affect anyone but is most common in people 50 to 70 years of age. You can get this disease from organ transplants or contaminated (dirty) surgical instruments. Brain biopsy and lumbar puncture to test the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid in the brain) are used to diagnose CJD. Other tests may include an electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. There is no cure for CJD. CJD signs and symptoms tend to worsen quickly. Treatment is usually given to decrease symptoms. Supportive therapies are often needed to help you continue with your usual activities for as long as possible.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- You may feel safer if you use a 4 prong (pointed) cane or a walker when walking. To keep from falling, remove loose carpeting from the floor. Using chairs with side arms and hard cushions will make it easier to get up or out of a chair. Put grab bars on the walls beside toilets and inside showers and bathtubs. These will help you get up after using the toilet or after bathing. Grab bars will also help to keep you from falling in the shower. You may want to put a shower chair inside the shower.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You are so depressed you feel you cannot cope with your condition.
- You have questions about your disease and treatment options.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have sudden changes in your vision.
- You have severe muscle twitching or uncontrolled pain even with medicines.
- Your nervousness and anxiety is not controlled even with medicines.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.