PBA Tip of the Day brought to you by Sam Ile with Anthem Senior Living (602) 909-9550.
So many people’s lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia today that these terms have become household words now. Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with day-to-day life. Dementia isn’t a single disease, this general term for memory loss, problem-solving and other thinking abilities is an overall term that encompasses a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. However, there are other types of dementia as well. One such type is Frontotemporal dementia that is the most common form of dementia for people below 60 years of age.Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) causes difficulties in thinking and behavior. Frontotemporal dementia, again is an overall term representing a group of uncommon brain disorders that mainly affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The risk for developing this dementia is higher for individuals with a family history of dementia.Symptoms:Behavioral changes– loss of inhibition, loss of empathy, increasingly inappropriate social behavior, lack of judgment, one tends to shed his/her inhibition, lack of interest (apathy), poor hygiene, changes in eating habits, eating inedible objects, repetitive compulsive behavior like clapping.Speech and language problems– unable to construct sentences, no longer knowing meanings of words, trouble naming things, having trouble using and understanding written and spoken language.Movement disorders– movement-related problems may include muscle spasms, tremor, rigidity, difficulty swallowing, poor coordination, muscle weakness, and laughing or crying at the wrong times.Types of Frontotemporal dementia:
Behavior variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) (language skills, speaking, writing and comprehension get affected)
Disturbances of motor (movement or muscle) function comprise three disorders namely Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Corticobasal syndrome, and Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) – subtypes of frontotemporal dementia.
The major differences between FTD and Alzheimer’s are
FTD is the most common cause of dementia in people younger than age 60 with most people being diagnosed in their 40s and early 60s, whereas Alzheimer’s disease is more common with increasing age.
In FTD, behavior changes are the first noticeable symptoms, whereas behavior changes tend to occur later in Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory loss is a major symptom in early Alzheimer’s than in early FTD.
Hallucinations and delusions are more common as Alzheimer’s progresses, and uncommon in FTD.
People suffering from FTD face more problems with speech than those dealing with Alzheimer’s.
Spatial orientation issues such as getting lost in familiar places are more common in Alzheimer’s disease.
Treatment: All of us are aware that dementia is incurable, and it holds true for FTD as well. There are no particular treatments for any of the frontotemporal subtypes. There are medications though that can reduce agitation, irritability and/or depression. Treatments are aimed at improving quality of life of individuals. Although there are no specific treatments at the moment to slow or stop the progression of frontotemporal disorders, research is ongoing, which, hopefully will open doors to better diagnosis, improved care, and, eventually, new treatments. Memory care is the most common form of senior living in Anthem, which can improve quality of life of people with dementia.