Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia or FTD (sometimes called Pick’s disease) is a relatively rare form of dementia.

It is important to get the right diagnosis so that the right help can be given. If you are worried about your health or someone else’s, you should talk to your GP.

If your GP suspects dementia, you may be referred to a memory clinic or another specialist clinic. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You may have a physical check-up and some thinking and memory tests. You may also be sent for other tests including brain scans and blood tests. Together these tests will help to identify the problems in thinking and function, and the likely cause.

Brain scans such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to help give a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia. They allow the doctor to look for changes in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, commonly affected in this type of dementia.

FTD is an uncommon form of dementia, not often seen by doctors. It may take longer than usual to get the right diagnosis as it can be difficult to recognise the symptoms.

For more general information about diagnosis of dementia, visit our diagnosis page.

This information was updated in January 2018 and is due for review in January 2020. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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