FTD typically begins between 40 and 65 years old but can also occur later in life. Specific symptoms, and the order in which they appear, can vary from person to person and from one stage of the disease to the next. This typically depends on which parts of the brain are affected. Generally, changes in the frontal lobe affect behavior and changes in the temporal lobe affect language and emotions. Symptoms are progressive, which means they worsen over time.
The most common signs of behavioral variant FTD are related to dramatic changes in behavior and personality. These changes can result in impulsive, apathetic, socially inappropriate, and/or repetitive compulsive behavior. A person with FTD may have trouble planning or prioritizing tasks, lack empathy and interpersonal skills, have decreased energy, change their eating and personal hygiene habits, and appear distracted, disinterested, or agitated.
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) disorders involve problems with language or loss of speech. While a person with FTD may not have memory issues, they can experience difficulty speaking or understanding written or spoken language, have trouble naming objects or remembering words, and make mistakes in sentence construction.
Movement disorders that fall under the FTLD umbrella may involve symptoms like tremors, muscle spasms, poor coordination, and muscle weakness.