Treatments For Frontotemporal Dementia
There’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.
But there are treatments that can help control some of the symptoms, possibly for several years.
- medicines to control some of the behavioural problems
- therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for problems with movement, everyday tasks and communication
- dementia activities such as memory cafes, which are drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice
- support groups who can offer tips on managing symptoms from dementia experts and people living with frontotemporal dementia, and their families
Safety And Supportive Measures
Generally, the environment should be bright, cheerful, safe, stable, and designed to help with orientation. Some stimulation, such as a radio or television, is helpful, but excessive stimulation should be avoided.
Structure and routine help people with frontotemporal dementia stay oriented and give them a sense of security and stability. Any change in surroundings, routines, or caregivers should be explained to people clearly and simply.
Following a daily routine for tasks such as bathing, eating, and sleeping helps people with frontotemporal dementia remember. Following a regular routine at bedtime may help them sleep better.
Activities scheduled on a regular basis can help people feel independent and needed by focusing their attention on pleasurable or useful tasks. Such activities should include physical and mental activities. Activities should be broken down in small parts or simplified as the dementia worsens.
What Is The Outlook For Frontotemporal Dementia
In the early stages, the symptoms and signs of frontotemporal dementia can be cared for and treated with good results. Late-stage frontotemporal dementia can take years to develop. As the disease progresses, 24-hour care may become necessary.
Frontotemporal dementia shortens a persons life span. The condition will eventually cause a person to have difficulty with bodily functions such as:
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Lack Of Sympathy And Empathy
A person with frontotemporal dementia symptoms puts himself first. He or she has difficulties to see and understand the needs of other people .
They show less personal warmth and love even to his wife or her husband. Besides, a person can show no interest in their children or grandchildren.
Which can be difficult to understand and to accept for family members.
Moreover, a person can be less socially active or doesnt show any interest in the social environment, events or celebrations.
This behavior can make the person appear harmful or selfish and has to be understood as illness and not as an unfriendly attitude or hostility.
Signs And Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Each case of FTD is different, but the illness generally becomes more distinguishable from other brain conditions as it progresses. Symptoms may occur in clusters, and some may be more prevalent in early or later stages. Here is a list of ten signs of FTD:
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Treating And Managing The Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
There is currently no cure for FTD. However, there are some things that you can do to help manage your symptoms.
For example, your doctor will advise you to lead a healthy and active lifestyle to help reduce and manage your symptoms for as long as possible.
They may also prescribe medications to help manage specific FTD symptoms, such as compulsions, sleep disorders, , and . Possible medications include antidepressants to help with behavioral changes and antipsychotics to help control aggressive behavior.
Furthermore, following a routine can help you reduce and provide you with a framework for your daily tasks.
Other therapies and options your doctor may suggest include:
- occupational therapy
- ideas to reduce challenging behaviors
What Do The Terms Mean
One of the challenges shared by people living with these disorders, families, clinicians, and researchers is what terminology to use. Here, we have used the term frontotemporal disorders to characterize this group of diseases and the abbreviation FTD, which is commonly used to refer to them. Other terms used include frontotemporal lobar degeneration and frontotemporal dementia, but it’s important to note that with some frontotemporal disorders, the primary symptoms are problems with speech or movement, rather than dementia symptoms. Physicians and psychologists diagnose the different forms of FTD based on a persons symptoms as well as the results of brain scans and genetic tests.
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Managing Behavior Changes In Ftd
Behavior changes associated with bvFTD can upset and frustrate family members and other caregivers. Understanding changes in personality and behavior and knowing how to respond can reduce frustration and help provide the best care for a person with FTD.
Managing behavioral symptoms can involve several approaches. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Try to accept rather than challenge someone with behavioral symptoms. Arguing or reasoning will not help, because they cannot control their behaviors or see that they are unusual or upsetting to others. Instead, be as sensitive as possible and understand that its the illness talking.
- Take a timeout when frustrated take deep breaths, count to 10, or leave the room for a few minutes.
- To deal with apathy, limit choices and offer specific choices. Open-ended questions, such as What do you want to do today? are more difficult to answer than specific ones, such as Do you want to go to the park or for a walk?.
- Maintain a regular schedule, reduce distractions, and modify the environment to reduce confusion and improve the persons sleep.
- If compulsive eating is an issue, consider supervising eating, limiting food choices, locking cabinets and the refrigerator, and distracting the person with other activities.
To ensure the safety of a person and his or her family, caregivers may have to take on new responsibilities or arrange care that was not needed before.
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Alzheimers disease and dementia with Lewy bodies have many of the same symptoms, and persons who have both conditions generally also have the following symptoms:
- alternating states of wakefulness and sleepiness, as well as varying degrees of mental tiredness,
- delusions of sight ,
- exhibiting a general slowing down in their bodily motions,
- multiple instances of falling and passing out,
- a lack of restful sleep.
What Is Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia , a common cause of dementia, is a group of disorders that occur when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lost. This causes the lobes to shrink. FTD can affect behavior, personality, language, and movement.
These disorders are among the most common dementias that strike at younger ages. Symptoms typically start between the ages of 40 and 65, but FTD can strike young adults and those who are older. FTD affects men and women equally.
The most common types of FTD are:
- Frontal variant. This form of FTD affects behavior and personality.
- Primary progressive aphasia. Aphasia means difficulty communicating. This form has two subtypes:
- Progressive nonfluent aphasia, which affects the ability to speak.
- Semantic dementia, which affects the ability to use and understand language.
A less common form of FTD affects movement, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
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What Are The Types Of Frontotemporal Dementia
There are several disorders that can result in frontotemporal dementia, all of which can affect middle-aged and older adults.
- Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia is the most common frontotemporal disorder. It causes changes in personality, behavior, emotions, and judgment.
- Primary progressive aphasia involves changes in the ability to communicate to speak, read, write, and understand what others are saying.
- Movement disorders happen when the parts of the brain that control movement are affected. There are two types of rare movement disorders associated with FTD: corticobasal syndrome and progressive supranuclear palsy. Other movement-related disorders include frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism and frontotemporal dementia with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . Symptoms can vary among these movement disorders.
Is There Treatment Available
There is not yet a cure for FTD, or any disease modifying treatment. However, various therapies can help with some of the symptoms. Secondary symptoms, such as depression, may be helped by medication.
Knowing more about FTD and why the person is behaving as they are can help people to cope with the disease.
Family members and carers can, with support, develop coping strategies to work around problems rather than trying to change the behaviour of the person with FTD.
Psychological therapies are important to help manage abnormal behaviour.
Speech therapy is of benefit to people with PNFA, particularly in helping to develop alternative communication methods.
The input of an occupational therapist can help improve everyday functioning at home.
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There Are Two Broad Types Of Frontotemporal Dementia:
- Behavioural variant FTD where damage to the frontal lobes of the brain mainly causes problems with behaviour and personality. These lobes are found behind the forehead and process information that affects how we behave and the control of our emotions. They also help us to plan, solve problems and focus for long enough to finish a task.
- Primary progressive aphasia occurs when damage to the temporal lobes on either side of the head nearest the ears causes language problems. This part of the brain has many roles. A key function of the left temporal lobe is to store the meanings of words and the names of objects. The right temporal lobe helps most people recognise familiar faces and objects.
The first noticeable symptoms for a person with FTD will be changes to their personality and behaviour and/or difficulties with language.
These are very different from the early symptoms of more common types of dementia. For example, in Alzheimers disease, early changes are often problems with day-to-day memory. In the early stages of FTD, many people can still remember recent events.
Differences Between Frontotemporal Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
The key differences between FTD and Alzheimers disease are as follows:
- Age: People with FTD often receive their diagnosis in their early 40s or early 60s. Alzheimers disease is more likely to begin in older adults.
- Behavioral changes: Changes in behavior are key symptoms at the start of FTD. For individuals with Alzheimers disease, changes in behavior often start later on.
- Loss of memory: FTD can cause memory loss, but forgetting things often begins later on in the condition. Memory loss for those with Alzheimers disease usually begins earlier on.
- Confusion: Getting lost in familiar places does not often happen to those with FTD, but it can often happen to those with Alzheimers disease.
- Hallucinations: Seeing things that are not there is uncommon for people with FTD, but it can be common for those with Alzheimers disease.
- Difficulties with speech: People with FTD tend to struggle with finding the right words for objects and remembering the names of people. This is more common in FTD than in Alzheimers disease.
- a loss of bowel control, bladder control, or both
As a result of your symptoms progressing, you may need full-time care.
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How Does Ftd Progress
The progression of symptoms in behavior, language, and/or movement varies by individual, but FTD brings an inevitable decline in functioning. The length of progression varies from 2 to over 20 years.
As the disease progresses, the person affected may experience increasing difficulty in planning or organizing activities. They may behave inappropriately in social or work settings, and have trouble communicating with others, or relating to loved ones.
Over time, FTD predisposes an individual to physical complications such as pneumonia, infection, or injury from a fall. Average life expectancy is 7 to 13 years after the start of symptoms . The most common cause of death is pneumonia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Symptoms of FTD start gradually and progress steadily, and in some cases, rapidly. They vary from person to person, depending on the areas of the brain involved. These are common symptoms:
- Behavior and/or dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, increased interest in sex, or a deterioration in personal hygiene habits
- Socially inappropriate, impulsive, or repetitive behaviors
- Impaired judgment
- Increasing dependence
Some people have physical symptoms, such as tremors, muscle spasms or weakness, rigidity, poor coordination and/or balance, or difficulty swallowing. Psychiatric symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, also may occur, although these are not as common as behavioral and language changes.
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Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia
After Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia is the most prevalent kind of dementia caused by another disease. Mixed dementia is a term that refers to the condition that some individuals experience when they have both vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease.
Vascular dementia has comparable symptoms to Alzheimers disease. However, memory problems may not be as noticeable in the initial stages.
The onset of symptoms may be somewhat abrupt and progress quite rapidly, but they can also come on slowly over several months or years.
The following are some examples of specific symptoms:
- symptoms similar to those of a stroke, including transient paralysis or weakening of the muscles on one side of the body ,
- issues with mobility, such as limited mobility or a noticeable alteration in the manner in which a person walks,
- problems with ones thinking, such as having trouble paying attention, making plans, or reasoning,
- alterations in mood, such as sadness and a propensity to become more sensitive.
Typical Manifestations Of Dementia In Its Early Stages
People might be affected differently by the various varieties of dementia, and everyone will experience the symptoms of dementia uniquely.
On the other hand, there are a few early symptoms that are pretty typical and may show up at any point in time before dementia is diagnosed. These are the following:
- Memory deterioration,
- difficulties in focusing,
- experiencing difficulty in carrying out routine everyday chores, such as having difficulty determining the appropriate change to use while purchasing,
- having trouble keeping up with a discussion or finding the proper term,
- having trouble keeping track of time or location,
- alterations in mood.
These symptoms are often relatively moderate and may only progressively worsen with time. Because the symptoms arent severe enough to be classified as dementia, this condition is commonly referred to as mild cognitive impairment .
These symptoms may go unnoticed by you and your loved ones for a long time, even if you have them. Its possible that these symptoms wont change at all or even become better in some individuals. On the other hand, some persons who have MCI will eventually acquire dementia.
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Diagnosis Of Frontotemporal Dementia
The diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia is based on its typical symptoms, including how they developed.
There is no specific treatment for frontotemporal dementia.
Generally, treatment focuses on
For example, if compulsive behavior is a problem, antipsychotic drugs may be used. Speech therapy may help people with language problems.
What Is The Difference Between Ftd And Alzheimers
Like Alzheimers disease, FTD causes brain atrophy that leads to a progressive loss of brain function. Key differences between the two diseases include:
- Age at diagnosis: Symptoms of FTD usually appear between the ages of 45 and 65, whereas the majority of Alzheimers cases occur in people over age 65.
- From behavior changes to memory loss: Changes in behavior are an early sign of FTD, and problems with memory may occur in advanced stages. In contrast, Alzheimers affects memory early on and may lead to behavior issues as it progresses.
- Speech problems: People with FTD often suffer greater problems speaking, understanding speech and reading than people with Alzheimers.
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The Future Of Ftd Treatment
Researchers are continuing to explore the biological changes in the body, including genetic mutations and proteins, that lead to FTD and identify and test possible new drugs and other treatments. They are also developing better ways to track disease progression, so that treatments, when they become available, can be directed to the right people. Clinical trials and studies are underway to advance these efforts. People with FTD and healthy people may be able to participate. To find out more, talk to your health care provider or visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.
Poor Planning And Trouble Making Decisions
Organizing and planning difficulties may be first noticed at work if a person is still employed. A retired person can show a lack of organizing and managing their finances.
As an example, house expenses and bills arent paid in time or the wrong amount is paid. A person can be confused with the understanding of the value of money and can waste it for unnecessary things.
Another common frontotemporal dementia symptom is the difficulty of making decisions. More importantly, the decision to actually executing an activity or task. On the other hand, they might have trouble considering what should be the best thing to do in a particular situation.
It is important for a person to have a caregiver, family member, friend, that helps him to understand the value of the decision and what should be the best for them to do.
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Are There Options For Treatment
Today, there is no cure for FTD. Unfortunately, no current treatments slow or stop the progression of the disease. However, if you or a family member or loved one are affected, there are important steps that you can take to preserve and maximize quality of life. A growing number of interventions not limited to medication can help with managing FTD symptoms.
It is important for you and your care partner to identify a team of experts who can help with coordinating care and with the legal, financial, and emotional challenges brought on by this disease.