Preparing for your appointment

People with frontotemporal dementia often don't recognize that they have a problem. In many cases, family members are the ones who notice the symptoms and arrange for a doctor's appointment.

Your family doctor may refer you to a doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist) or mental health conditions (psychologist) for further evaluation.

What you can do

Because you may not be aware of all your signs and symptoms, it's a good idea to take a family member or close friend along with you to the doctor's appointment. You may also want to take a written list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical conditions you've had in the past
  • Information about medical conditions of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor

In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may also check your neurological health by testing your:

  • Reflexes
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle tone
  • Senses of touch and sight
  • Coordination
  • Balance

During the appointment, your doctor might also conduct a brief mental status evaluation, which may assess:

  • Memory
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Attention span
  • Counting skills
  • Language usage
Oct. 29, 2016
References
  1. Frontotemporal disorders. National Institute of Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/frontotemporal-disorders/introduction. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
  2. Burrell JR, et al. The frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease continuum. The Lancet. 2016;388:919.
  3. Frontotemporal disorders. The Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/dementia/fronto-temporal-dementia-ftd-symptoms.asp. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  4. Goldman L, et al., eds. Alzheimer disease and other dementias. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  5. Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
  6. Warren JD, et al. Frontotemporal dementia. BMJ. 2013;347:1.
  7. Weishaupt JH, et al. Common molecular pathways in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2016;22:769.
  8. Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
  9. Caceres CA, et al. Family caregivers of patients with frontotemporal dementia: An integrative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2016;55:71.
  10. Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
  11. Larson EB. Evaluation of cognitive impairment and dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
  12. Riggin EA. AllScripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 28, 2016.
  13. Alzheimer's disease research centers. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/alzheimers-disease-research-centers. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.
  14. Participating institutions. Arizona Alzheimer's Research Consortium. http://azalz.org/about-us/participating-institutions/. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.