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Pick Disease

Pick Disease

Any change in behavior, mood, or personality in a middle-aged person may signal a problem. A visit to the person’s health care provider is a good idea if the change interferes with any of the following:

  • The person’s ability to take care of himself or herself
  • The person’s ability to maintain health and safety
  • The person’s ability to sustain social relationships
  • The person’s ability to work effectively at his or her job
  • The person’s ability or interest in participating in activities that he or she enjoys
  • The person’s ability to drive or carry out other complex tasks

Many conditions can cause dementia   or dementia-like symptoms in a middle-aged person, including both medical and psychological problems. Some of these conditions can be reversed, or at least stopped or slowed down. Therefore, it is extremely important that the person with symptoms be checked thoroughly to rule out treatable conditions.

An early diagnosis allows treatment to begin earlier in the disease, when it has the best chance of improving symptoms. Early diagnosis also allows the affected person to plan activities and make arrangements for care while he or she can still take part in making decisions.

Self-Care at Home

Individuals with Pick disease should remain physically, mentally, and socially active as long as they are able.

  • Daily physical exercise helps maximize body and mind functions and maintains a healthy weight. This can be as simple as a daily walk. The walk should be at a brisk pace and last at least 20 minutes.
  • The individual should engage in as much mental activity as he or she can handle. It is believed that mental activity and stimulation may slow the progression of the disease. Puzzles, games, reading, and safe hobbies and crafts are good choices. Ideally, these activities should be interactive. They should be of an appropriate level of difficulty to make sure that the person does not become overly frustrated.
  • Social interaction is stimulating and enjoyable for most people with early or intermediate stages of the disease. Most senior centers or community centers have scheduled activities that are suitable for those with dementia.

A balanced diet   that includes low-fat protein foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables will help maintain a healthy weight and prevent malnutrition and constipation. An individual with Pick disease should not smoke, both for health and safety reasons.

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Follow-up

After Pick disease has been diagnosed and treatment begun, the individual requires regular checkups with his or her health care provider.

These checkups allow the health care provider to see how well treatment is working and to make adjustments as necessary.

They allow detection of new medical and behavior problems that could benefit from treatment.

These visits also give the family caregiver(s) an opportunity to discuss problems in the individual’s care.

Eventually, the person with Pick disease will become unable to care for himself or herself, or even to make decisions about his or her care.

  • It is best for the person to discuss future care arrangements with family members as early as possible, so that his or her wishes can be clarified and documented for the future.
  • Your health care provider can advise you about legal arrangements that should be made to ensure that these wishes are observed.
Prevention

There is no known way to prevent Pick disease. Being alert for symptoms and signs may allow earlier diagnosis and treatment. Appropriate treatment can slow or relieve symptoms and behavior problems in some people.

Some experts think that education and other forms of intellectual challenge may help protect people against the disease. People with low levels of education and mental/intellectual activity are said to be at a higher risk for the disease and to be more likely to have more severe disease, but this has not been proven conclusively.

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Outlook

Pick disease starts slowly but finally results in severe brain damage.

  • People with the disease gradually lose cognitive functions, ability to carry out everyday activities, and ability to respond appropriately to their surroundings.
  • Many lose their ability to communicate and understand language.
  • They eventually become completely dependent on others for care.
  • These losses occur in everyone with the disease, but the speed with which they occur varies from person to person and may be slowed by treatment.

Pick disease is considered to be a terminal disease.

  • The actual cause of death usually is a physical illness such as pneumonia  . Such illnesses can be debilitating in a person who is already weakened by the effects of the disease.
  • On average, a person with Pick disease lives about 7 years after the disease is diagnosed. In some people, the disease progresses to death much more rapidly. Others live 10 years or longer after onset of the disease. The differences in the speed at which the condition worsens have not been explained.

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