What You Should Know About Frontotemporal Dementia


When most people think about memory loss and dementia, they think about Alzheimer's disease; while Alzheimer's is one form of dementia, it is not the only one. Some people may find that they suffer from a much less commonly recognized form of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia. If you or someone you know has received such a diagnosis, get to know more about what frontotemporal dementia entails and what you can do to better manage the disease and your care going forward.

What Exactly Is Frontotemporal Dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia is a degenerative brain disorder or disease that affects the frontal or the temporal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes are just behind the forehead and the temporal lobes are right behind the ears.

Dementia that affects these areas of the brain simply refers to damage that occurs to the nerve cells in these areas of the brain. This damage is progressive and irreversible. There are several subtypes of frontotemporal dementia as well that are diagnosed based on the prevalence of certain issues or symptoms.

These subtypes include:

  • PPA: A form of frontotemporal dementia that affects a person's speaking, writing, and other language-related skills
  • bvFTD: A form of frontotemporal dementia that drastically changes a person's personality and the way that they interact with other people. It can also affect the ways in which the act as their judgement is also affected
  • Motor Function FTD: There are also a few subtypes of frontotemporal dementia that affect a person's motor skills. These can cause muscle stiffness, weakness, or pain.

How Is Frontotemporal Dementia Treated?

Once you have seen a neurologist with experience working with dementia to go through the various scans and tests that can tell you that you have frontotemporal dementia, they can help you to develop a treatment and care plan for yourself.

There is currently no known cure for frontotemporal dementia. In fact, there is not a treatment that has been shown to slow the progress of the disease at all. However, there are ways to treat symptoms that are related to frontotemporal dementia. Behavior modifications and redirecting activities can often be quite effective at dealing with behavioral changes and flare-ups.

Antidepressants, also sometimes referred to as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), are drugs that can be helpful to people suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other such mental and emotional changes as a result of their frontotemporal dementia. Some other drugs may be prescribed to treat other cognitive symptoms of frontotemporal dementia. However, more research needs to be done to better understand whether these drugs are truly effective.

What Are Your Care Options?

Frontotemporal dementia is a progressive disorder, meaning that it gets more pronounced and profound over time. Because of this, receiving care and assistance will become important as symptoms become more noticeable.

Residential care is one of the best options for a person with frontotemporal dementia, particularly if they have personality changes and behaviors that are problematic, or if they have motor function FTD that can make control of bodily functions and mobility extremely difficult. Caregivers in residential care settings., like Gateway Living, are trained to assist with such symptoms in a caring and professional manner and it can save family members from struggling with difficult scenarios.

Now that you know more about frontotemporal dementia and how it can affect you and your life, you can better plan for care and treatment going forward.  


20 November 2015

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