Dementia symptoms: How does your partner smell lately? The smelly warning sign of dementia

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There are more than 100 types of dementia and many of the symptoms overlap so it can be hard to identify the specific form of brain decline one has. Memory loss, for example, is a hallmark feature of many different types of dementia. There are exceptions to the rule. Frontotemporal dementia – an uncommon type of dementia – can produce distinct problems with behaviour and language.

There are different variants of frontotemporal dementia and each have their own unique subset of symptoms.

If you have the behavioural variant, you may start to neglect personal hygiene, explains the NHS.

So if your partner starts to smell and is consistently floating his daily shower, it could be a telltale sign.

Other behavioural signs include:

  • Acting inappropriately or impulsively
  • Appearing selfish or unsympathetic
  • Overeating
  • Loss of motivation.

Are you at risk?

It’s not fully understood what causes frontotemporal dementia, but there’s often a genetic link.

“Frontotemporal degenerations are inherited in about a third of all cases,” explains the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).

According to the AA, genetic counselling and testing are available now in individuals with family histories of frontotemporal degenerations.

Lifestyle risks factors have also been linked to frontotemporal dementia, although research is ongoing in this area.

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One study sought to assess whether smoking and obesity are risk factors for frontotemporal dementia.

Ninety patients with frontotemporal dementia and 654 patients with Alzheimer’s disease were compared with 116 cognitively healthy elderly individuals.

The study found no associations between smoking and frontotemporal dementia.

There were significant associations between obesity and frontotemporal dementia.

“Our findings suggest that obesity is a shared risk factor for FTD [frontotemporal dementia] and AD [Alzheimer’s disease], while smoking plays various roles as a risk factor for FTD”, wrote the researchers.

How is frontotemporal dementia diagnosed?

According to the Alzheimer’s Society (AS), blood tests and a full physical examination are important to rule out other possible causes of symptoms.

“A specialist – normally an old age psychiatrist or neurologist – may think a person has FTD after talking to them and to someone who knows them well.”

According to the health body, the specialist will take a detailed history of the person’s symptoms and ask questions to understand the person’s behaviour and abilities better.

“Standard tests of mental abilities, which mostly focus on memory loss, can be less helpful in diagnosing FTD,” it adds.

“More specialised tests of social awareness or behaviour may be needed.”

Can it be treated?

There’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.

But there are treatments that can help control some of the symptoms, possibly for several years.

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