Hollywood luminary Bruce Willis is now stepping into a role no scriptwriter could have for him. The real-life struggle with Frontotemporal Dementia.
FTD is considered a distant cousin of Alzheimer’s—it’s its own monster. It targets specific brain areas, your frontal and temporal lobes. And then what?
Your personality can flip. Your speech?
Don’t mix this up with Alzheimer’s only. In fact, it’s a whole new interruption.
3 Types of FTD
Three types of FTD make the scene. Each one’s a different brand of trouble:
Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD):
First up is bvFTD, or Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia. This one’s a flipper personality. If you’ve ever seen a loved one act out of character all of a sudden, bvFTD could be the cause.
Meanwhile, this condition can make someone you care about act impulsive. You feel withdrawn or even display unkind behavior. Essentially, it can make them seem like a completely different person. That’s why it can be hard to understand and cope with.
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
Next, let’s talk about PPA or Primary Progressive Aphasia. This one attacks your ability to speak and understand language. Such as you’re having a thought but struggling to find the words to express it. Words that used to be familiar become difficult to grasp.
However, basic conversations can feel like navigating a maze. It’s a devastating condition that chips away at your ability to communicate. In the end, it leaves you frustrated and disconnected.
Dementia with Movement Disorders
Lastly, there’s a type of FTD that combines with physical movement disorders, similar to Parkinson’s disease. This is like a double whammy. Since it’s more than mental faculties your physical abilities are compromised as well.
For example, Routine tasks, like walking or holding something, that were once effortless. After that, it can become an almost impossible challenge. And trust me, you’ll want all the help you can get.
Bruce Willis Medical Mystery
Bruce’s latest script doesn’t cover car chases or love triangles.
It’s about his life-changing illness. And he’s not the only one in the spotlight. His family has courageously joined him on stage, showing that this issue is bigger than.
What are they asking us to focus on?
Yet, this is their urgent plea for us. Shift your focus from the glitz and glamor of stardom to the pressing issue of FTD.
A health problem that doesn’t have much recognition or resources that it deserves. The family is asking us to concentrate on this silent but damaging disease because it’s time for it to come out of the shadows.
Now the spotlight is on all of us. We’re the audience, and it’s our turn to take action against this overlooked condition.
FTD & Age Factor
Here’s the raw truth about FTD. It holds the dubious title of being the leading cause of dementia for people under 60. But wait, the plot thickens.
Diagnosing this condition can be a slow and grueling process. But often spanning for years.
That means we’re probably lowballing the real number of people. It’s high time we put FTD under the microscope.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Brace yourselves: There’s no FTD cure. None. Nada.
How do we even figure out it’s FTD?
Strap in for MRI scans, loads of symptom questions, and yes, even a deep dive into your family tree.
And once the verdict’s in?
You can only manage the fallout. No clean slate here. The harsh fact is the Post-diagnosis. This means you’re looking at a 7 to 13-year life expectancy.
Time for Action
The clock’s ticking, and inaction is not an option. This is our call to arms. Be it by boosting research funding and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with caretakers. Your single action could be the critical domino effect to bring a huge change. So, seize the moment now.
Where Do You Fit In?
Your role in this story is not low? But you’re a front soldier. What’s first on your to-do list? Educate yourself. Learn what FTD is, how it affects people, and why it needs our attention. Knowledge is power, after all.
What comes after that?
Put that newfound understanding to good use. Donate if you can and offer emotional support. Help organizations that focus on FTD, like AFTD to help fulfill their mission.
The Bottom Line
All in all, FTD’s been under the radar for way too long. It’s high time it gets the limelight and funding.
Also, the brainpower and R&D it needs. Bruce Willis, his family, and countless unnamed heroes are living this every day. They’re more than stats. They’re the stories waiting for a better ending.