Frontotemporal Dementia: Identification and Management

Leah Wilfong, MS, AGPCNP-BC; Nancy E. Edwards, PhD, ANP-BC; Karen S. Yehle, PhD, FAHA; Karla Ross, MSN, ANP


Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2016;12(4):277-282. 

In This Article

Differential Diagnosis

Diagnosis of FTD may initially be suspected with reports of dramatic personality, emotional, or behavioral changes. These symptoms can mistakenly be attributed to a midlife crisis, marital conflict, stress, or even menopause. Obtaining a thorough personal and family medical and psychological history is needed. Family members may not have been formally diagnosed with FTD, so inquiring about unusual behavior, unexpected divorces, spending sprees, or legal trouble may provide an indication of FTD presence.

If FTD is suspected, other medical and psychiatric conditions must first be ruled out. Possible medical differential diagnoses include: cerebrovascular accident; delirium; infection; hypothyroidism; vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies; head trauma; or brain tumor. Psychiatric conditions, such as bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorder, schizophrenia, and substance abuse, must also be eliminated.[4] Other types of dementias must also be excluded.