Frontotemporal disorders (FTD), which can also be referred to as frontotemporal dementia, result from damage to neurons found in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include emotional issues and unusual behaviors. Let’s take a look at the seven stages of this disease.
What Are The 7 Stages Of Frontotemporal Dementia?
Like most forms of dementia, frontotemporal dementia progresses slowly. Gradually, symptoms will worsen over time. This form of dementia often strikes early, affecting people aged forty to sixty, according to NIA.NIH.gov.
Stage 1. No Symptoms
During stage one, the individual will exhibit no symptoms whatsoever.
- At this point, the disease has not yet progressed enough to cause any visible symptoms.
- Patients often present themselves as normal and completely healthy.
Stage 2. Mild Symptoms
Most patients will feel mild symptoms during stage two of this disease. While most dementia patients experience memory issues as the first sign of the disease, this is not the case with frontotemporal dementia.
- These patients will experience slight changes in both personality and social interactions.
- Symptoms are very subtle at this point in time.
- It is possible for a diagnosis to be missed during this stage.
- If symptoms are noticed they could simply be chalked up as stress.
Stage 3. Cognitive Issues
Stage three is usually where some cognitive issues may be noticed by loved ones.
- These changes can include deterioration of social skills and language use.
- Typically, symptoms displayed during this stage are enough to alarm family members.
- Functional and working memory, as well as social skills begin to go.
- Obsessive behaviors, including binge eating, may occur at this stage.
Stage 4. Noticeable Symptoms
It will be clear at this point that there is something wrong with the individual. Previously unrecognized symptoms are now extremely obvious.
- The patient will have difficulty with normal interactions, overall.
- Language skills may regress, with the patient struggling to speak at times.
- A diagnosis made at this stage may be considered an ‘early onset’ diagnosis.
- This means some treatments could be provided to the patient, which may not work in later stages.
Stage 5. Full-Time Care Needed
Stage five is considered the mid-point of the disease’s progression. The patient will need medical intervention, as well as a caretaker some or all of the time.
- Social skills are very poor by this time.
- Language is also on a severe decline.
- Emotional non-reactivity is yet another symptom that is presented.
- This means the patient may not react appropriately in most situations.
- While the disease has progressed slowly until now, it begins to accelerate at this stage.
Stage 6. Severe Cognitive Issues
Severe cognitive issues, a decline in judgement, and loss of bodily control will occur in stage six.
- Another symptom is poor impulse control, which means patients should be monitored throughout the day and night.
- Speech issues can also pop up, with pronunciation problems persisting.
- Patients may attempt to go into complete isolation at this point.
Stage 7. Final Stage
This, of course, will be the most difficult stage for the individual and loved ones.
- Patients will become withdrawn and struggle with communication skills.
- They may refuse to cooperate in general and become very upset.
- Personal assistance will be needed for almost every task.
- Social skills, motor, and verbal abilities will disappear entirely.
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