A Comprehensive Guide to Frontotemporal Dementia by Your Leesburg Neurology Expert

Studies show that Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) affects more than 60,000 Americans, yet most individuals either disregard it or assume it is Alzheimer’s. Our Dulles neurology expert, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, urges everyone to keep an eye out for its symptoms. An insidious neurodegenerative condition, FTD can strike anyone, leaving the patient and everyone involved reeling at the sudden development. Get the lowdown on this devastating disorder.

Distinguishing FTD from Alzheimer’s

Most people who encounter someone with FTD often confuse it for Alzheimer’s. Avoid premature or incorrect diagnosis by knowing their key differences.

  • Age of diagnosis – People suffering from FTD are typically diagnosed in their 40’s and 60’s. Alzheimer’s, meanwhile, is more common in people beyond those ages.
  • Behavior changes –Behavior changes are often the first telling signs of FTD. They happen to Alzheimer’s patients as well but in the more advanced stages of the condition.
  • Memory loss – In FTD, the deterioration of memory happens in its advanced stages. In Alzheimer’s, it’s prominent from the onset.
  • Hallucinations – People with Alzheimer’s frequently suffer from hallucinations and delusions. People with FTD don’t.
  • Speech issues – Such as having trouble articulating thoughts; FTD sufferers often struggle to make sense of what they say, read, and speak more compared to Alzheimer patients.
  • Spatial orientation issues – Such as getting lost in familiar places; Alzheimer patients suffer from these types of problems more than those with FTD.

Defining the Different Types of FTD

FTD has two distinct types, each targeting a specific aspect or function:

1. Behavior variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) affects the patient’s behavior and personality. People who develop it are often in their 50s and 60s.

2. Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) affects speech, writing, comprehension, and language skills. Most people develop it before age 65.

The symptoms of FTD progressively worsen over the years. Early diagnosis is a must to give the patient the care they require. This is why any competent neurologist in Leesburg who suspects FTD in their patient would immediately require various exams for confirmation. 24-hour care is crucial in the most advanced stages of the condition.

What causes FTD?

The cause of FTD is mostly unknown. Experts have determined its prevalence in people with a family history of dementia, but more than 50 percent of the people who develop it don’t have such a background.

What are the symptoms of FTD?

To find out if you or someone you know may be suffering from FTD, look for these symptoms:

Speech and language issues

  • Difficulty in articulating
  • Loss of word meaning knowledge
  • Misuse of pronouns
  • Use of hesitant speech
  • Increasing difficulty in understanding language

Behavioral changes

  • Apathy
  • Loss of empathy
  • Changes in eating habits, predominantly overeating
  • Consumption of inedible items
  • Gradual disregard of personal hygiene
  • Repetitive compulsive behavior
  • Loss of judgment or inhibition
  • Lack of awareness of their behavioral changes

FTD shares symptoms with other neurological conditions. To rule out other disorders, consult a neurologist in Leesburg, VA immediately. Accomplish all the exams that the doctor may require and don’t miss any of the appointments following the initial consultation.

Who is more susceptible to FTD?

People who have a family history of dementia are more likely to develop frontotemporal dementia.

Recently on 60 Minutes, CBS aired an episode of frontotemporal dementia as the “cruelest disease you’ve never heard of”.

Keep an Eye Out for Its Symptoms

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of FTD, schedule an appointment with Neurology Associates immediately. We will help you determine if you or your loved one is suffering from FTD. If it’s not FTD, don’t fret. You can trust our Dulles neurology specialist, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, for expert and customized care.  Schedule an appointment with us today.