Ever since Kiley asked me if I was going to get FTD and if that meant she also would get FTD, I've been a little troubled. I know there is a test that can identify the genetic markers for FTD and that if my mom has those genetic markers then I have a 50/50 shot of getting or not getting FTD, but do I really want to know?
That question brings me to the presentation I heard today at our monthly FTD support group meeting. The presenter was Dr. Ronald Devere, an Austin area neurologist specializing in memory loss and dementia. He really tried to drive home the likelihood or should I say the unlikelihood of developing genetic dementia.
So here are the numbers I heard:
Only 15-20% of FTD cases are genetic.
.5% of Alzheimer's disease cases are genetic.
10% of people over 65 have mild cognitive impairment.
60% of people with mild cognitive impairment develop dementia.
40% of people with mild cognitive impairment don't develop dementia.
Stress is the biggest cause of memory loss.
Let's say that someone is predisposed to getting FTD or another type of dementia, something like surgery or anesthesia can trigger the development. This happened with my mother who had a stint put in a few years ago. She experienced extreme stress before, during and after her surgery and as she recovered, her personality and behavior went downhill. Another person could live out their life and never develop dementia but only experience mild cognitive impairment.
So needless to say, I am not as stressed out about getting FTD.