Frontotemporal dementia symptoms include 'changes in personality'
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Frontotemporal dementia is a progressive brain condition that affects behaviour and personality. Abnormal proteins interfere with communication between brain cells, and then the nerve cells and pathways die. Suddenly binging on sweet treats could be an indication of the brain condition, said Dementia UK. An increase in appetite is usually linked to depression, stress or anxiety – hence why you would have heard the term “stress eating”.
However, this disinhibition might be caused by a brain disorder, which is why it’s key to be aware of the other warning signs.
In behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (also known as Pick’s), changes in behaviour and personality can include:
- Loss of empathy
- Obsessive or repetitive behaviours
- Changes in appetite and food eaten
- Difficulties with decision making, problem solving and concentration
Another variation of frontotemporal dementia is known as “primary progressive aphasia”.
This involves language difficulties, speech problems, reduced comprehension, loss of understanding of familiar words, and difficultly recognising people.
The Alzheimer’s Association warned that the condition can begin to take hold in a person’s 20s.
However, it’s more common for the condition to manifest when people are in their 50s and 60s.
Behaviour changes are said to be the first noticeable symptoms in any type of frontotemporal dementia.
There tends to be a genetic component to the condition, with a third of all causes attributed to mutated genes.
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John Hopkins Medicine pointed out the dramatic behaviour changes a person with frontotemporal dementia might experience.
For instance, a deterioration in personal hygiene habits could be a warning sign.
Another example is when a person who was a law-abiding citizen suddenly starts stealing and swearing at people.
Apathy might cause emotional withdrawal from other people and losing interest in hobbies.
Physical symptoms might include tremors, muscle spasms or weakness, rigidity, and poor co-ordination and/or balance.
While there is no cure or treatment to slow down the progression of the disease, it’s still advisable to see a GP if you believe you could be affected.
Certain medications might be offered to address the symptoms, but the root cause can’t be prevented with the research information we have available at the moment.
Donating to dementia charities can help fund important research in such areas.
Frontotemporal dementia is one of many types of dementia that a person can develop.
Other types of brain conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is one way to minimise your risk of developing dementia.
This includes being physically active, eating healthily, and exercising the mind with cards, board games, puzzles, and reading.
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