12 Frontotemporal Dementia Symptoms 2024

frontotemporal dementia symptoms

We will look at the most common frontotemporal dementia symptoms as they can vary quite a bit from person to person.

Some are pretty similar to other types of dementia, but the treatment can be different due to the disease affecting different areas of the brain.

But what exactly is frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and why it occurs?

First and foremost, frontotemporal dementia is an umbrella term for different conditions. We know three main types of FTD:

Moreover, FTD increases nerve loss in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The former is the area behind your forehead and the latter the section behind the ears.

A person with FTD mainly shows signs that are related to behavior, personality and communication/language which worsen over time. In the later stages of frontotemporal dementia, a person needs 24-hour care.

Today, we will investigate different frontotemporal dementia symptoms that caregivers, friends and family members should be aware of.

Note that an individual can have a mixture of two or more symptoms which cause difficulty prescribing the right treatment.

At the time of writing this, FTD and any other type of dementia still have no cure. However, there are different behavioral and lifestyle changes that we can implement to reduce the risk of dementia.

12 Frontotemporal Dementia Symptoms and Signs

1. Apathy

apathy frontotemporal dementia symptoms
It is easy to notice this change in a person that was once an outgoing, active and friendly individual with a lot of friends and rich social life.

However, all of a sudden, they lose interest in other people, events and friends. A person with frontotemporal dementia, as well, starts to lose motivation for hobbies and other activities that he or she once loved.

When you ask this person why they do not do activities anymore he or she just doesn’t have the motivation to do anything anymore. Also, a person doesn’t have any bad feelings toward friends and society just doesn’t want to be connected with them anymore.

As a result, they like to spend time alone. An apathetic person has an absence of interest in social, spiritual, physical, emotional and family life.

2. Lack of sympathy and empathy

lack of sympathy and empathy
A person with frontotemporal dementia symptoms puts himself first. He or she has difficulties to see and understand the needs of other people (his caregivers, family members, friends).

They show less personal warmth and love even to his wife or her husband. Besides, a person can show no interest in their children or grandchildren.

Which can be difficult to understand and to accept for family members.

Moreover, a person can be less socially active or doesn’t show any interest in the social environment, events or celebrations.

This behavior can make the person appear harmful or selfish and has to be understood as illness and not as an unfriendly attitude or hostility.

3. Repetitive behavior

repetitive behaviors a symptom of frontotemporal dementia
A person can develop a behavior pattern or gestures that are repeated many times in a day. A person can also start hoarding stuff and doesn’t want to throw away their belongings.

Especially disturbing are used wipes, old food and empty food packing. Common frontotemporal dementia symptom is when a person repeats phrases and questions multiple times in just one hour.

Some behaviors can become almost ritualized and cannot be interrupted. If a caregiver doesn’t do something like the ritual a person with frontotemporal dementia developed, the person with the condition can get very angry and upset.

For example, if the food isn’t served like the person with frontotemporal dementia expects, he or she can become a nuisance.

4. Poor planning and trouble making decisions

poor planning and trouble making decision
Another of the frontotemporal dementia symptoms is with organizing and planning. Difficulties may be first noticed at work if a person is still employed. A retired person can show a lack of organizing and managing their finances.

As an example, house expenses and bills aren’t paid in time, or the wrong amount is paid. A person can be confused with the understanding of the value of money and can waste it for unnecessary things.

Another common frontotemporal dementia symptom is the difficulty of making decisions. More importantly, the decision to actually executing an activity or task. On the other hand, they might have trouble considering what should be the best thing to do in a particular situation.

It is important for a person to have a caregiver, family member, friend, that helps him to understand the value of the decision and what should be the best for them to do.

5. Loss of communication

loss of communication
A person with frontotemporal dementia can experience loss of expression. Communication can be hard to understand with a lot of errors in grammar. A person can be really slow at speaking and experiences difficulties to find the right word and meaning of a sentence.

You can notice that an individual is leaving out small words in the sentence such as the, from, to, etc. It becomes challenging to understand what they try to say when the words are mispronounced or wrong.

You have to be attentive to understand a person with frontotemporal dementia who has symptoms of loss of communication.

Don’t argue with a person about errors in grammar and just listen attentively and connect the story in a whole tale with a sense of its potential.

After some time, it gets easier to understand the meaning even if the words are wrong and are missing.

6. Memory

Common frontotemporal dementia symptom is connected with memory. One of the first signs is when a person’s vocabulary gets inadequate.

Additionally, a person can be confused about everyday objects and doesn’t recognize items that he/she uses, eats and see every day.

A person can be asking about the meaning of familiar words (what is “glass,” what is “an apple,” etc.). Similarly, a person doesn’t recognize familiar people, family and friends.

Loss of short-term memory can be noticed when a person doesn’t recollect what he ate one hour ago, if he already was in the shop that day or if he/she had any family visits in the morning.

7. Agitated behavior

agitated behavior
The more that the brain becomes damaged, the more agitated or aggressive a person can become. In this stage of frontotemporal dementia, a person can be hard to understand, has limited communication and poor focus.

He or she can become angry or aggressive by the smallest things that do not go according to their plan. This could be a simple misunderstanding in conversation.

Or if a family member thinks or wants to prove that the person with dementia is behaving weird or inappropriate.

Try to understand that the brain is damaged and that person can’t act and behave as he/she used to.

A person starts to do everyday things in a routine and gets upset if the routine is broken. In this stage, a person will likely need a full-time caregiver.

8. Poor personal hygiene

poor personal hygiene
A person with frontotemporal dementia symptoms can start to diminish personal hygiene, and doesn’t want to take regular showers, clean teeth and wash clothes.

Clothes seem to a person with frontotemporal dementia always clean and he/she does not want to change them even if they are full of stains.

Showers start to become unnecessary and complicated. Plus, the cleanliness of the bathroom and living space becomes poor and dirty.

It is necessary that family members check if the bathroom and kitchen are clean and safe to use if a person is living alone.

9. Movement problems

movement problems
Common symptoms of frontotemporal dementia are those that relate to the movement of a person. A person can develop tremors and can’t stop trembling, which leads to incapability to take care of his/her basic needs in everyday life tasks.

A problem can start with an eating disorder due to the difficulty of swallowing of food and liquids.

Not enough food can lower energy and consequently, lack of active movement.

With no activity, human muscles start to weaken which can lead to problems with balance. A person can easily fall and lose stability while standing.

Try to help a person with movement problems to stay active and walk at least ten minutes a day if possible so that some muscles will stay fresh and preserved.

10. Change of personality

change of personality
The characteristics and personality of a person with dementia can change with a damaged brain. Alterations can be so severe that the person that you once knew doesn’t exist anymore.

We simply have to accept a new personality that an individual has developed.

Remember that the changes, especially if they are negative, are due to the disease. A person with frontotemporal dementia is not trying to hurt you, or be negative and ungrateful.

Set reasonable expectations and don’t demand behavior that a person with frontotemporal dementia cannot provide.

If personality changes are so severe and sudden that you cannot cope with them, contact a physician for help.

11. Sudden speech problems

sudden speech problems
It is more likely that a person with FTD will have issues with speech compared to those with Alzheimer’s disease. This results in one of quite common frontotemporal dementia symptoms.

A person has trouble not just remembering names and words but making sense when they speak and understanding others. They even tend to use more general words when describing things, even people, like it, he, she, etc.

Moreover, difficulty also occurs when it comes to reading.

To sum up, when an older adult starts to have speech problems, you better take him or her to see the doctor as early as possible. In some instances, complete loss of speech may also become a thing.

12. Weird eating habits

weird eating habits
One widespread frontotemporal dementia symptom is the development of weird eating habits.

All of a sudden, they start to crave foods that they never before liked. Moreover, overeating is an almost popular act in people with frontotemporal dementia.

That’s not all. It is also quite natural that they begin to desire sweet foods, primarily carbohydrates.

Last but not least, one of the signs of their weird eating habits is the fact that they begin eating inedible, heck, contaminated objects. You, as a caregiver or loved one, should pay close attention to what the older adult is doing.

And if they need more attention during morning or later hours, that’s what you would want to try to take care of.

Final Thoughts – Frontotemporal Dementia Symptoms

There are a range of Frontotemporal dementia symptoms, to include changes in behavior and personality to language difficulties and impaired organizational function.

Recognizing these early signs is important to allow for timely diagnosis and access to the right care. By having an understanding and awareness of these symptoms, families can navigate the challenges posed by frontotemporal dementia.

By doing so, they will be better able to manage the condition and provide the appropriate support as it progresses.

BvFTD (What Is Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia?)


Through years of study and research, we finally bring you a complete overview of Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).

One of the MOST COMMON forms of frontotemporal degeneration.

This is a variant that develops when there is progressive cell loss in the anterior and frontal areas of the brain.

It usually results in alterations in behavior, personality, and complex thinking.

This type of dementia is said to be the 2nd leading cause of cognitive disorder brought about by neurodegeneration in persons who are 65 years and below.

Causes of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

causes of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
The main cause of the illness is yet to be established.

Scientists acknowledge that with the disease, there is usually a HUGE build-up of different types of proteins with brain cells.

Experts talk about three kinds of protein i.e. TDP=43, tau, and FUS (fused – in sarcoma).

These types of proteins usually occur normally but the problem comes in when there are EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS in the brain.

Large amounts of protein in the brain cells make the cells lose their ability to function well and they finally die off.

When this happens, the affected parts of the brain will shrink.

As aforementioned, it is right to conclude that this type of dementia may occur when there is cell loss in the frontal and anterior part of the brain.

To add to this, it is important to mention that this dementia can also be caused by different pathologies.

These include the irregular deposits of proteins in the brain.

Some studies also suggest that genetics may have a role to play in the development of the illness.

Symptoms of bvFTD

symptoms of bvftd
There are several symptoms that can indicate a person has behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

1. Disinhibition

This is one of the hallmark features of the illness.

People with this type of dementia will often show changes in behaviors that are socially acceptable.

It is where you may find a person touching or approaching strangers inappropriately.

Some will lose their decorum or mannerisms where they can end up using vulgar language, being rude, or violate personal space among others.

Others will even start engaging in impulsive buying or selling habits or get into careless actions among many others.

2. Executive dysfunction

You may also tell that a person has this kind of dementia when they START STRUGGLING with executive functions like generation of ideas, planning, mental flexibility, and organizing.

This primarily happens when the brain starts to lose some essential cells in its frontal lobes.

3. Loss of empathy

It is common for dementia patients to appear detached, cold, or display an abnormal disregard for distress or pain.

Some will also start to show a diminished response to other people’s feelings and needs.

4. Dietary changes

Change in eating habits is another example of symptoms that a person may have when dealing with this dementia variant.

This may manifest in the form of binge eating which may lead to weight gain or restrained eating that causes one to lose weight.

Some folks may hate some foods they used to love before and others will have food fads where they only want to consume a specific type of food.

Other individuals will start oral exploration where they want to consume INEDITBLE objects.

5. Inertia

Another symptom that comes out for people with this dementia is a general loss of motivation, drive, or interest.

In extreme cases, individuals will require some form of push to continue or initiate daily living activities such as taking a bath or dressing.

Many caregivers will mistake this for depression.

6. Compulsive behaviors

These can range from harmless repetitive behaviors like picking, tapping, and scratching.

Others will be quite complex such as collecting, ordering, and cleaning.

At extremes, impulsivity can end up being self-destructive.

For instance, a person may think that it is proper to jump out of a moving car on the highway. Some individuals also end up indulging in inappropriate sexual behaviors.

7. Impaired judgment

Although this may come in later, you may find that a person who has this type of dementia is not capable of making the right decisions.

This means that they can easily become victims of scams in person or online.

Sadly, people with the illness rarely notice the changes they go through.

Similar to other types of FTD, symptoms usually start mildly and become more disabling and pronounced over 8-10 years.

The end-stage of this illness typically includes intense functional impairment. It is also possible that a person will experience memory or motor difficulty if not both.

It is advisable to SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION when you notice any of the symptoms above to get a timely diagnosis.

Diagnosing BvFTD

diagnosing behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
To date, experts still do not have an easy time diagnosing this kind of dementia.

Given the gradual personality and behavioral changes that a person goes through, diagnosing this syndrome is not a walk in the park.

People will the illness will often go through SEVERAL mental and physical health referrals before the doctor can satisfactorily recognize the disease as a neurodegenerative disorder.

You may notice that a majority of the symptoms discussed above are synonyms with those of other dementia types. Something that increases the chances of MISDIAGNOSIS.

For early detection, there must be in-depth expert assessments of a person’s:

  • Medical history
  • Cognitive functions
  • Clinical observations
  • Caregiver reports on psychological and behavioral symptoms and the changes they bring.

Doctors and psychologists work hand in hand to assess a person’s current situation before concluding whether they have the disease or not.

An individual might have to undergo a couple of medical tests.

These may include brain scans which can show if there is a loss of brain cells in the FTD.

The professionals may also recommend blood tests, MRI, CT and other tests to confirm the clinical diagnosis.

This helps to rule out any other diseases because there is no single test that can diagnose this kind of dementia.

Treating bvFTD

treating bvftd
There is still no cure for this type of dementia. Doctors may, however, prescribe some medications that can help to manage the symptoms.

Some of these drugs may include SSRIs.

These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that can help a person manage symptoms like irritability, agitation, and lack of motivation.

Medical practitioners will also treat other illnesses that a person may have like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Other than medications, there are other ways persons with the illness can get relief.

This includes physical exercise, getting enough sleep, therapies, and consuming a balanced diet.

This helps to ENHANCE health while IMPROVING general fitness and daily mood.

Antipsychotics may also be prescribed to take care of severe disinhibition as well as physical and verbal outbursts.

Remember that a person with bvFTD should never start taking any type of medication without consulting their doctor first.

This is because they may end up choosing the wrong type of drugs that may end up causing them harm.

Note: Because a certain type of medication works with one person, you may not automatically get the same results.

Different people usually have different experiences with frontotemporal dementia.

Examples of medications to AVOID include the ones that have powerful anticholinergic side effects.

These may include narcotics, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, central nervous system stimulates, and barbiturates among others.

An individual may also opt to join a clinical trial to see if the practitioners can make him or her feel better.

Research continues when it comes to the treatment of this illness and there may be a breakthrough in the future.

Coping with Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

coping with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
The lack of an FDA approved cure means that a person with bvFTD must learn to cope with the illness to live a LONG and FILFILLING LIFE.

This includes getting help from friends, relatives, and professionals whenever they are in need.

However, many people SHY AWAY from asking for, especially when it comes to simple tasks.

It is also important to access the living environment of the person with dementia to ensure it is safe and comfortable.

A suitable retirement facility should be considered if living at home is no longer ideal.

It is also advisable for persons with the illness to get into legal planning when the dementia is still in its early stages.

Here, he or she can articulate their wishes and needs.

At some point it may be advisable to have a LIVING WILL which will spell out any medical treatments that a person may like to keep them alive as well as other decisions like organ donation and pain management.

Power of Attorney may also be necessary so that there can be a trustworthy person who can act in place of the ill individual in regards to financial and medical matters.

BvFTD Closing Thoughts

With bvFTD, it is essential to note that the length of the disease, as well as the symptoms, can dramatically vary from one person to the next.

Research shows that people who have this kind of dementia usually have a lower life expectancy when compared to the ones who have Alzheimer’s disease.

The disease usually CHANGES with time. A person can live with the illness for years.

Death may not be necessarily caused by the illness directly.

In most cases, it is because of other complications like dehydration, pneumonia, extensive pressure ulcers, UTI, fractures, falls, or vascular events.

13+ Frontotemporal Dementia Treatment Options

frontotemporal dementia treatment

It is important to understand the right approach to frontotemporal dementia treatment and how you can ease and alleviate the condition.

Frontotemporal dementia or FTD is a group of disorders that develop when there is a progressive loss of nerve cells in the frontal or temporal lobes in the brain.

When this happens to an individual, it can affect their movement, behavior, language, and personality. If you get a positive diagnosis for FTD, the first question you may ask is how to get treatment.

Sadly, there is currently no treatment available to cure, prevent, or slow down the decline of FTD.

However, there are a couple of frontotemporal dementia treatment options that affected individuals can try out. These may help take care of some of the symptoms they experience, ultimately improving quality of life.

Worth noting is that FTD is not life-threatening and many people live with it for years.

Best Frontotemporal Dementia Treatment


frontotemporal dementia treatment medication
Doctors can prescribe different types of medication to a person who has FTD to ease some symptoms. These are usually off-label drugs that are approved for one purpose but are used for another purpose.

Before settling on the drug that a person should take, medics usually ask caregivers and the person with dementia what the most problematic symptom is.

The professional then targets to treat this first. Some of the most common drugs that a person can include in a frontotemporal dementia treatment plan include:


There are very many drugs in the market available to help treat depression. That can also come in handy for a person who has FTD. They can help to control obsessive-compulsive behaviors, treat anxiety, and other signs of the disease.

Drugs like trazodone can assist with behavioral problems. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), on the other hand, have proven to be helpful when it comes to treating multiple FTD behavioral symptoms.

They include agitation, depression, apathy, and anxiety amongst others.

Drugs that most people take include Zoloft and Luvox. Professionals deem these agents relatively safe to be taken by persons who have dementia.

Sleeping aids

sleeping aids
An individual can use this to help ease sleep disturbances like insomnia.

Antipsychotic drugs

Doctors usually recommend these to help reduce compulsive and irrational behaviors. The medications which are also known as neuroleptic drugs have a reputation for affecting motor functioning negatively.

However, new generation antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa and Seroquel are normally well-tolerated.

Cholinesterase inhibitors

Some people will be also be put on cholinesterase inhibitors to experience some improvement or temporary stabilization in memory/attention in global functioning and day-to-day activities.


This class of medicine can act as mood stabilizers. A doctor may advise a person to take these alone or in conjunction with other drugs, specifically antipsychotic medication to manage agitation.

Tegretol and Depakote can help manage extreme behavior symptoms.

Dopaminergic Agents

dopaminergic agents
Some studies reveal that some drugs can help with enhanced initiation and speech fluency. These are medications that an individual takes to supplement the dopamine brain neurotransmitter system.

Persons with Parkinson’s disease are the ones who mostly take these drugs. In small doses, the medication might also reduce involuntary movements that some persons with FTD have.


Some persons with frontotemporal dementia may show signs of sexual disinhibition. Because this can be distressing medics might recommend medroxyprogesterone which is a hormone progesterone derivative. In some cases, this is useful for calming sexual urges.

Clinicians have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using drugs before recommending a prescription. This is because some drugs may have dire side-effects; thus, they end up creating a bigger problem instead of offering a solution.

Others might also interact with other medications that a person is already taking.

In most cases, the doctor will proceed on a start slow approach to see if the medication will be tolerated. The expert then decides whether it is prudent for the person to continue taking the drugs or look for an alternative.


Persons who have FTD are also advised to consider different types of therapies when coming up with a frontotemporal dementia treatment plan.

Examples of therapies that might help include:

Language and speech therapy

Experts can work with an individual to help improve communication problems.

This, at times, also assists with swallowing issues.


This comes highly recommended for people who have movement challenges because of FTD.

Occupational therapy

A person goes in for this type of therapy so that therapists can identify major problem areas in their daily lives.

These can include difficulties in eating, taking a shower, or getting properly dressed. The professionals of occupational therapy then go ahead to help come up with practical solutions.

Clinical Trials

clinical trials
Researchers and other experts are constantly working hard to make strides in the frontotemporal dementia treatment front.

This implies that a person who has FTD can volunteer to join a clinical trial that is experimenting with new tests, interventions, and treatments.

It is one of the approaches that can help to introduce new methods that are possible to detect, prevent, manage, or even treat the disease.

It is crucial to do thorough research before joining any clinical program to ensure that you will not be compromising your health at the end of the day.

Each clinical trial typically follows a protocol that has been predefined, including:

  • Clear criteria for eligible persons
  • In-depth information about the purpose of the trial
  • The experts conducting it and how they will be doing it
  • Potential benefits and risks

With most trials, a person does not have to pay to join. The experts usually cover costs like travel expenses for the participants.

Home and Lifestyle Remedies

home and lifestyle remedies
Away from frontotemporal dementia treatment options that mainly require professional help, there are some lifestyle and home remedies that can also prove valuable to individuals with FTD like:

1. Accepting the help of the caregivers. As the illness progresses, a person with FTD might not be able to do everything on their own; thus need some assistance from relatives, friends, and other professionals.

These are people who will come in to lend a hand when it is needed as you go about your daily activities. They will also offer transportation, maintain safety and assist with finances.

2. Engaging in exercises that are suitable for your skill level is also good for your health. Not only will this keep you in shape, but it will also help enhance thinking skills and mood.

3. Proper nutrition is also advisable for anyone who has FTD. There are plenty of resources that a person can use to see the best foods and drinks to eat to get the nutrients and energy that is needed to tackle the disease.

4. Stress management is also crucial to everyone who is battling FTD. Try and find things that make one happy and relaxed. The activities that a person engages in should be stimulating and enjoyable and most importantly, should be of their choosing.

While lifestyle changes will not reverse or stop the progression of the illness, they can help to protect brain functioning and offer other benefits that will see a person lead a more fulfilling life even with the disease.

frontotemporal dementia treatment lifestyle changes

Extra lifestyle changes

Your physician will also discuss any lifestyle changes that you need to make along the way. For instance, it may reach a point where you are not able to drive safely again.

Creating a comfortable environment for the person with FTD can also help them cope better with the signs and symptoms they are going through.

This can be done by making sure that there is nothing in sight that upsets the person with dementia. The home should also have minimal noise and be well-lit.

Other frontotemporal dementia treatment plans that might come in handy for persons with FTD like:

1. Engaging in relaxing techniques
This can be anything from going in for a massage or just listening to some good music and dancing your heart out.

2. Leisure activities and social interactions
These are best done with people who are facing the same challenges. This is why a person with this type of dementia needs to identify a support group.

These can have all sorts of helpful ideas on the activities that members can participate in to have fun so that they do not have to think about their medical condition all the time.

These groups also offer plenty of valuable advice that members can use to lead better lives despite their current conditions.

3. Strategies to combat challenging behavior
These include approaches like structured routines, distraction techniques, and activities like completing puzzles, etc. that help to avert “difficult” behaviors.

4. The use of incontinence products like pads pants, catheters, and other products and devices can help make life a lot easier when need be.

Closing Thoughts

It is important to note that people who have FTD do not experience illness in the same way. This means that a treatment option that works for one person may be harmful to the next.

It is, therefore, vital to identify the best treatment options based on individual experience to get the best results.

Additionally, it is best to stay away from self-prescription. Always consult a professional before you embark on any new treatments to be on the safe side.

What is Primary Progressive Aphasia?

primary progressive aphasia

There are a few rare diseases that a person can develop one of them being primary progressive aphasia (PPA).

This refers to a neurological syndrome that slowly and progressively impairs language capabilities. It is a result of damage to the sections of the brain that control language and speech.

According to the National Aphasia Association, this is different from the other kinds of aphasia that result from brain injury or stroke.

In other words, it is a rare case of frontotemporal dementia.

This is because neurodegenerative diseases like Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease can also cause PPA.

After all, they lead to the deterioration of brain tissues that are responsible for language and speech.

Primary Progressive Aphasia: Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

We can divide primary progressive aphasia into three categories namely:

1. Semantic PPA: This is where affected people can no longer voice out certain words. Their ability to recognize words may also start to decline.

2. Agrammatic/nonfluent PPA: Persons with this type of PPA have a hard time forming complete sentences.

3. Logopenic PPA: It is where a person may struggle to locate the right words to speak but still retain the ability to comprehend what other people say.


diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia
When medics suspect that a person has primary progressive aphasia, they usually look at the signs and symptoms that a person is showcasing.

This can include progressive loss of language abilities as well as some behavioral changes.

Doctors may then thoroughly examine family and medical history to see if they can catch the signs of the illness. MRI or CT scans may be done to confirm the diagnosis through brain imaging.

Sadly, with some cases, doctors may not be in a position to determine the specific disease until a person passes on.

Symptoms of Primary Progressive Aphasia

symptoms of primary progressive aphasia
Problems with language and speech are among the most common symptoms of PPA.

They typically show up between the ages of 50-70. These can include:

  • Difficulties naming familiar objects
  • Trouble understanding the meaning of words
  • Struggling to comprehend written or spoken language
  • Searching for words resulting in lots of pauses when speaking
  • Hard time repeating sentences and phrases
  • Struggling to find word substitutions and retrieve words
  • Poor grammar when speaking and writing

Worth noting is that symptoms of PPA are usually dependent on the extent of damage to the left hemisphere.

Additionally, other problems associated with the disease can show up later such as memory loss.

Other complications like depression or social and behavioral problems may also crop up as the disease progresses.

Some people have been known to experience poor judgment or develop neurological symptoms like issues with movement to an extent that they need help with day to day living.

How does Primary Progressive Aphasia Progress?

how does primary progressive aphasia progress
PPA tends to start as a subtle language disorder. For some people, this can be fluent aphasia where they have normal or an increased word production rate.

Others begin with non-fluent aphasia where they produce fewer words and they have challenges with speech.

In rare cases, a person will start by having a difficult time finding the right words to use coupled with progressive deterioration of comprehension and naming.

Over time, the situation becomes worse and in its severe stages, a person is not able to speak nor understand written or spoken language.

The progression patterns are different for different people. It is important to note that while Alzheimer’s causes PPA, it is not a neurodegenerative disease.

A huge percentage of people who have PPA remain independent can stay employed, and can also pursue hobbies and other interests.

Primary Progressive Aphasia Treatment Options

primary progressive aphasia treatment options
There is still no treatment approved for persons who have PPA.

This is primarily because there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on this illness.

Treatment is mostly geared towards helping a person adapt to the changes that will happen. For instance, anyone with this condition can benefit from learning new communication strategies during the disease.

Professional speech-language pathologists can help with this.

Aphasia Community Groups can also help with teaching new strategies to communicate. Communication assistive devices may also come in handy.

Speech therapists can also help persons with PPA to maintain language skills for the longest possible time.

Non-verbal modes of communication like pointing pictures or gesturing can also be helpful when a person with PPA wants to express themselves.

Doctors in some cases may prescribe SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to treat some of the behavioral changes that PPA causes.

These medications are also in use to treat depression and anxiety symptoms.

More studies are underway to identify more effective treatments for primary progressive aphasia.

Risk Factors

risk factors of primary progressive aphasia
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing primary progressive aphasia like

Learning disabilities

People who had learning disabilities while growing up specifically developmental dyslexia might be at higher risk of PPA.

Gene mutations

In a few cases, PPA might be hereditary where a person may end up getting it if their family member had it thanks to rare gene mutations.


Many people who have primary progressive aphasia will typically live with the illness for about 3-12 years after diagnosis.

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