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Frontotemporal dementia: What’s to know?



Frontotemporal dementia: What's to know?

Frontotemporal dementia: What’s to know?

Frontotemporal disorders involve damage to the frontal and lateral or temporal regions of the brain that cause dementia. Depending on the species, they can cause changes in language use, behavior and other aspects of well-being.

This affects not only behavior and language use, but also a person’s posture and gait, which can increase the risk of falling.

FTD is the third leading cause of dementia in people over 65 and the second leading cause of dementia in people under 65. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 65. However, it is rare, accounting for less than 5% of all dementia cases.

Learn more about the types, expectations, and treatment options in this article.


There are two main types of authentic FTD sources. Practical form and linguistic form. However, a person can have both symptoms.

At the front of the brain is the frontal lobe, and at the side is the temporal lobe. When neurons or brain cells are damaged in these parts of the brain, a variety of symptoms can occur.


The signs and symptoms that affect the condition determine the correct diagnosis that a person receives.

Behavioral form

About 60% of people with FTD have the behavioral form and about 40% have the speech form.

Behavioral differences can be caused by:

  • personality change
  • Loss of empathy and emotional response
  • change of diet
  • indifference
  • Loss of control leading to inappropriate behavior
  • The problem of abstract thinking
  • Difficulty implementing reliable sources and functions
  • Inability to resist touching or picking up objects
  • Repeating words or actions for no apparent reason

Memory problems may occur later.

They may also not realize that their behavior is abnormal.

Language form

Language forms are progressive non-fluent aphasia or semantic aphasia.


Progressive non-fluent aphasia makes speaking difficult. They may slur words, struggle to understand complex sentences, or be unable to name objects. In the initial phase, a person can still calculate, remember things, and think abstractly.

People with semantic dementia may have difficulty understanding words and recognizing familiar faces and objects. A speech may sound good, but it has no meaning for the listener. Over time, this type can also affect memory.


People with FTD may also experience:

  • Insomnia affects 48%
  • Sleep-disordered breathing affects 68% of FTD patients
  • Restless legs syndrome occurs in 8% of cases
  • Increased risk of falling
  • High libido
  • Eating disorders such as binge eating, binge eating, or developing certain eating habits
  • Reliable sources for stride length, stride cycle, balance, postural and gait changes. This can cause a fall.
  • If loved ones do not understand the reasons for their actions, they clash with their trusted sources

Some movement disorders can coexist with FTD. It contains:

  • motor neuron disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy


There are three general stages of FTD: early, intermediate, and late.

At the beginning

In the early stages of FTD, a person may not experience memory loss. For this reason, some doctors ignore the condition or misdiagnose it as a mental illness.

Middle stage

In the middle stages of FTD, the disease begins to resemble other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.


People in the middle stages of FTD may need more help with simple daily tasks such as dressing and grooming. Family members and caregivers may also notice behavioral problems more often.

Late stage

People with advanced FTD often have problems with language and behavior, and their memory often begins to decline.

Some at this stage of the disease need round-the-clock care.


FTD is caused by damaged brain cells in the frontal and temporal lobes due to proteins accumulating in these areas.

The cause of FTD is often unknown. However, about 40 percent of patients have FTD. Head injuries and hypothyroidism can also increase the risk.


FTD and ALS may have some genetic components, but there is currently no clear link.


The symptoms of FTD vary from person to person and depend on the subtype.

Type of FTD a person has, symptoms may include:

  • inappropriate human behavior
  • heart impulse
  • boring and uninteresting
  • Lack of empathy and difficulty understanding the feelings of others
  • disease
  • A little understanding of his own behavior
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Changes in eating habits
  • or anxiety or discouragement
  • Loss of interest in personal hygiene
  • repetitive or compulsive behavior
  • A little energy and motivation
  • Speech and language problems
  • the gait changes
  • Other physical symptoms such as seizures
  • difficulty swallowing
  • Dystonia or abnormal position of any part of the body
  • weakness, stiffness and muscle cramps
  • Inability to perform movements such as combing hair
  • Tendency to shake and throw things

At a later stage, FTD can also start to affect memory.


FTD can be difficult to diagnose because different conditions cause similar symptoms. These conditions include bipolar disorder, supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

Several tests can help determine the diagnosis and rule out other possible conditions.


The doctor can:

  • Consider the symptoms
  • evaluate their own thinking and reasoning ability
  • perform a physical examination
  • Consider personal and family medical history
  • A brain scan to look for brain cell damage in the frontal and temporal regions of the brain
  • Cerebrospinal fluid laboratory tests

Research is still looking for more accurate ways to detect such conditions at an early stage.


Currently, there is no cure for FTD and no way to stop the progression of the disease.

Behavioral symptom

Behavioral methods and medications can help manage activities and behaviors that may endanger the well-being of the individual or others. For example, doctors can prescribe antidepressants or sedatives.

Various medications are available, but they can cause side effects. The person or their caregiver can talk to the doctor to find the right option for them.

Caring loved one

A speech therapist can help a person maintain their ability to speak and find new ways to communicate. This may include the use of tables, pictures, gestures, sign language or pictures.


Teachers can help by speaking slowly and clearly, using simple sentences, and waiting for answers. As new problems arise over time, the person and their caregiver may need to explore other strategies.

Take care of your loved ones

Here are some tips to keep people safe and improve their quality of life:

  • Help them manage their finances and apply for disability benefits, if applicable.
  • Avoid hurting them physically, socially or psychologically.
  • Install equipment that reduces the risk of falls.
  • If possible, seek counseling for depression and anxiety.
  • keep a routine
  • Help them avoid excessive sex, overeating, and other potentially problematic behaviors.

The National Institute on Aging recommends accepting rather than disagreeing with unconventional statements, as debate is often futile. She recommends healthcare professionals take “breaks,” such as counting to 10, to help deal with any frustrations.

Point of view

FTD is progressive. Progress can be rapid from 2 to 10 years, but the outlook can be very variable.

For most people, this will affect the features they use in their daily life. Over time, they may need 24/7 care at home or in a nursing home.


Caregivers may also need support from family, friends and other support groups.


FTD is a form of dementia that can affect speech, behavior, and other aspects of a person’s health. Symptoms get worse over time. This condition can affect a person’s life expectancy.

There is currently no cure, but treatment and support can help control symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with FTD.

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