FTD covers several different conditions and is sometimes referred to as Pick’s disease. The word frontotemporal is named after the areas of the brain that it affects. It is found behind the forehead and is the part of the brain that deals with behaviour, planning, emotion control and problem solving.
FTD occurs when nerve cells in this part of the brain die, so the connecting pathways change. Please refer to my article on how the memory works. This means that the messages are lost and over time the nerve cells die and the brain tissue shrinks in these areas.
This causes changes in a person’s personality and behaviour and also causes difficulties with their language. The symptoms are different from those of Alzheimer’s disease. Frontotemporal is the third most common form of dementia and affects men and women according to studies fairly equally.
Scarily, Frontotemporal dementia is a significant cause of dementia with younger people, people under the age of 65. This can be diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65 but can affect people older or younger than this. Obviously the impact of a younger person being diagnosed who could have a family and commitments would need a different set of support needs.
About 10 to 20 percent of people who develop Frontotemporal dementia also suffer from a motor disorder, this can happen either after or before the start of the dementia. This disorder causes difficulties with movements. Symptoms can be stiffness, loss of balance, twitching and in the later stages can cause difficulties with swallowing, Dysphagia also covered in a previous article.
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