New Mexico residents who have been affected by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in their family may be interested in information about a similar medical condition that is sometimes confused with Alzheimer’s. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration is a type of dementia that is estimated to represent about 10 percent of dementia cases. FTLD is the most common type of dementia in people who are under the age of 60.

Symptoms of FTLD usually appear between the ages of 50 and 60. In people under 65, it is believed to be as common as Alzheimer’s is in older patients. But it is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s and misdiagnosed. A neurologist from Stanford University attributes this to medical personnel not expecting dementia in people under 60. She says that when symptoms of dementia are seen, an assumption of Alzheimer’s is often made because that disease is so common.

There are several diseases that are categorized as types of FTLD. The most prevalent is a disease that was formerly called Pick’s disease, and is now known as behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia or bvFTD. FTLD causes parts of the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes to atrophy or waste away. It may be easier to distinguish the difference between FTLD and Alzheimer’s in the earlier stages of dementia, because, as one neurologist says, in later stages of dementia it is difficult to tell one form from another. There are some notable difference between FTLD and Alzheimer’s, however. Memory loss, which is common in early Alzheimer’s, does not necessarily appear in cases of FTLD until the disease is in a more advanced stage.

A misdiagnosis can result in a wosened condition. One of the more common results of misdiagnosis is being prescribed an ineffective or even dangerous medication. People who have been harmed as a result may want to meet with an attorney to see what legal recourse they may have.