Dear HelpLine: Hyperorality

Graphic: Dear HelpLine - Hyperorality
Dear HelpLine,
My loved one is focused on eating sweets like cookies and candy bars, which is so different than how he used to eat. I’m concerned he’s not eating a healthy diet and is gaining weight. I’ve tried keeping sweets out of the house, but then he goes to the store to get them himself. Is this related to FTD? What can we do?

Changes in eating or oral behaviors, also called hyperorality, are a common symptom in behavioral variant FTD and can occur in any FTD subtype. These behaviors can come in many forms and change throughout the progression of FTD. Especially in the early stages or even before the person is diagnosed, the changes can be subtle and are sometimes only later recognized as part of FTD. Cravings for sweets or carbohydrates can be one common focus.

AFTD has developed a resource for care partners to learn more about this symptom. Not all changes need intervention, but when there are risks of harm, or when the changes cause significant stress, interventions can be considered with the support of the person’s healthcare team. Approaches focus on minimizing risks and reducing the frequency rather than stopping the behavior altogether.

Connecting with other care partners in an FTD support group who may have experience with similar issues can be a valuable source of emotional support and suggestions. You can learn more about support options in the previous Dear HelpLine issue Looking for Support Options.

Additional resources:

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