Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a form of dementia that is becoming a growing concern among experts and individuals. While dementia is perceived to occur in senior age, FTD can occur in people under age 60. Since knowledge of the disease is still limited, here’s in-depth discussion of the topics and some tips on how your Dulles neurology center can help you.
Definition of FTD
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a term used to describe disorders that affect the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. These are the lobes that are associated with behavior, personality, and language. When a person has FTD, portions of these lobes shrink, and this affects their personality. As a result, they become socially inept, emotionally indifferent, and unable to communicate properly.
FTD is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are significant differences between the two kinds of dementia. These are the following:
- Different symptoms
FTD results in gradual, progressive behavior decline, while the memory is kept relatively preserved.
- Not yet common and more unknown
FTD occurs at an estimated 60,000 cases. On average, it would take 3.6 years for an accurate diagnosis.
- More common in people at a younger age
Majority of FTD cases take place between the ages of 45 and 64. Because of the earlier age range, FTD has a bigger effect on work and on the economic burden on families compared to Alzheimer’s.
Progression and Symptoms of FTD
FTD brings in extreme personality and behavior changes, resulting in a slow decline of functioning. FTD progression usually lasts from 2 to over 20 years. In the long run, people suffering from this condition need 24-hour supervision or consultation with a neurologist from Leesburg, VA.
- Behavior Changes
Extreme changes in behavior take place as a result of FTD. Such changes include:
• Inappropriate actions
• Lack of empathy and other skills
• No judgement and inhibition
• Repetitive compulsive behavior
• Lessening hygiene
• Eating habit change
- Language Issues
Some types of the FTD are characterized by impairment of speech and language. One is primary progressive aphasia, which is difficulty using and understanding languages. A person can find it hard to use the correct word when talking about something. Primary progressive aphasia can be further divided into the following types:
• Progressive agrammatic aphasia – Nonfluent and hesitant in speaking; Misuse of pronouns in sentence construction.
• Semantic dementia – Having difficulty naming things; difficulty finding the meaning of words; replacing specific words such as “smartphone’ with “it”
- Movement Disorders
A few subtypes of FTD show movement disorders, similar to that of amyotrophic lateral scleroris (ALD) or Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms are the following:
• Muscle spasms
• Poor coordination
• Difficulty swallowing
• Muscle weakness
You will also be subjected to conditions including infection, pneumonia, or fall from injury. The life expectancy is 7-13 years after the symptoms show.
Cause of FTD
The specific cause of FTD has yet to be discovered. However, studies have shown that mutations on several different genes have been linked to certain types of FTD. In addition, more than half of those who suffer from FTD have had no family history of dementia.
Studies have also revealed that the degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes has two main causes: the accumulation of a protein called tau in the brain, and one which involves the protein TDP-43.
Get Help in Managing FTD
As of now, there is no FTD cure. There are also no treatments which aid in slowing or stopping the disease’s progression. Since people who have FTD are not expected to change their behavior, special care must be taken in managing FTD symptoms. If you find yourself or a loved one exhibiting FTD symptoms, consult immediately your neurologist in Leesburg for assistance in managing the effects of the disease.