Alexic anomia happens when you lose your ability to understand written words. You can no longer read. This is a type of aphasia , which is a language disorder. It is caused by brain damage. This is a serious condition that may change over time, depending on the cause.

Stroke—Most Common Cause of Alexic Anomia

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Alexic anomia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, for example:

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing alexic anomia:

Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.


If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to alexic anomia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

  • Inability to read with understanding
  • Ability to write, but not read what you have written


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will do a physical exam. To help differentiate alexic anomia from other, similar conditions, your doctor may perform a neurological examination, tests to check brain function, and/or order these tests:

  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the head
  • PET scan —a test that makes images showing the amount of functional activity in the brain

You may be referred to a neurologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system.


Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

  • Speech-language therapy—to help you use your remaining communication abilities, restore lost abilities, learn to compensate for language problems, and learn other methods of communicating
  • Counseling —to help you cope with your condition and help your family learn how to better communicate with you
  • Individualized rehabilitation program—to focus on what caused your condition


Since stroke is the most common cause of aphasia, follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke: