Frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, is a degenerative disease that affects the front part of the brain. Frontotemporal dementia begins earlier than other types of dementia, with the age of onset typically between 40 and 65, according to the National Center on Caregiving. As the disease progresses, the patient will experience deficits in cognition, behavior and personality.
The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) states that, in the early stage of frontotemporal dementia, the patient starts to show signs of personality change. For example, the patient can become apathetic or develop depression. Strange behaviors are also possible such as repetitive behaviors, lack of inhibition, and unusual sexual and physical behavior. The patient might have weight gain from overeating. Language problems can also occur in the early stage. Reading and writing problems may develop.
As frontotemporal dementia progresses, the patient loses more language skills. Personality and mood changes are even more pronounced such as a flat facial expression and hypochondria. The patient can also have a loss of empathy and a lack of initiative. Impaired judgment, change in sleep patterns and decreased motor skills are other symptoms present in the intermediate stage of frontotemporal dementia. The patient also demonstrates a loss of insight into her personal conduct, according to the National Center on Caregiving.
In the late stage of frontotemporal dementia, the patient can no longer speak, according to the UCSF Medical Center. The National Center on Caregiving says that akinesia, a condition in which there is a loss of muscle movement, might be present. The patient may also unable to respond to verbal commands with motor responses in the late stage of the disorder. While a patient with frontotemporal dementia has a longer life expectancy than a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, death can occur from complications associated with the inability to move.