Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a type of dementia that primarily affects a person's frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for one's personality, behavior, language, and executive functions. It is also known as frontotemporal degeneration or Pick's disease. FTD is a progressive neurological disorder that usually occurs in people under the age of 65, although it can occur in older adults as well. Together, we will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and available resources for FTD.
Know the Signs of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
Symptoms of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
The symptoms of FTD vary depending on which part of the brain is affected, but can include changes in personality and behavior, language problems, difficulty with movement and coordination, and problems with decision-making and problem-solving. Let's discuss these symptoms in more detail.
Changes in personality or behavior
One of the earliest signs of FTD is a change in personality or behavior. Your loved one may become socially inappropriate, act impulsively, lose empathy or sympathy for others, or become apathetic. For example, they may make inappropriate comments or jokes, engage in risky behavior, or neglect personal hygiene. They may also lose interest in hobbies or activities they used to enjoy.
FTD can also affect language skills. Your loved one may have difficulty finding the right words, have trouble understanding language, or have difficulty with grammar and syntax. They may also repeat themselves frequently, have difficulty following conversations, or have trouble expressing themselves clearly.
Some people with FTD may experience stiffness or rigidity, have difficulty with balance, or experience tremors. They may also have difficulty with coordination, such as difficulty with walking or using their hands.
Difficulty with executive functions
FTD can also affect executive functions, which are the cognitive processes that help us plan, organize, and complete tasks. Your loved one may have difficulty planning, organizing, or completing tasks, or may make poor decisions. They may also have difficulty with multitasking or problem-solving.
Diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your loved one, it is important to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of FTD. A healthcare provider may perform a neurological exam, imaging studies, and cognitive tests to determine if your loved one has FTD or another type of dementia.
In addition to a physical exam and neurological testing, a healthcare provider may use imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans to examine the brain for signs of FTD. They may also perform cognitive tests to evaluate memory, language skills, and other cognitive functions.
Treatment for Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
There is currently no known cure for FTD, but treatment can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment for FTD often involves a team of healthcare professionals, including a neurologist, psychiatrist, and speech therapist, who work together to develop a treatment plan that addresses the specific symptoms of the patient.