What is frontotemporal dementia?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Care Planning |

Unlike its better-known counterpart, Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) has only recently started to make the news. That’s largely in part due to the openness of Hollywood icon Bruce Willis and his family following his diagnosis with the disease.

Frontotemporal dementia is the number one most common form of dementia in people under 60 years of age, but it’s still very unfamiliar to most people.

What should you know about the disorder?

Many victims of FTD are strikingly young. Symptoms typically start when the victim is somewhere between 40 and 65 years of age, but it can afflict people who are both younger and older. It’s also an “equal opportunity” disease that affects both men and women in roughly even numbers, and its cause is still unknown.

While there are several variants of the disease, and the symptoms may come on gradually or rapidly, the disease is always progressive. Common symptoms include:

  • Language changes, including difficulty with comprehension, hesitations when speaking, difficulty applying names to familiar objects, problems using words appropriately or forgetting words
  • Cognitive changes, including dramatic personality changes, impaired judgment, recklessness, apathy, loss of empathy and moodiness or agitation
  • Social changes, including loss of interest in their favorite activities, low motivation, social withdrawal and increased dependence on others
  • Physical changes, including trouble swallowing, balance problems, coordination issues, muscle spasms and weakness

FTS is just one of many forms of dementia that afflict people as they age. If you’re concerned that you or someone you love may be showing the early stages of this disease or another form of dementia, be proactive about seeking a diagnosis. That way, you can take steps today to address both the medical and legal concerns that the condition may bring in the future.