Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain that are responsible for language. Aphasia can impair the expression and understanding of language, as well as reading and writing. The sooner aphasia is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.
The following factor increases your chances of developing aphasia. If you have this risk factor, tell your doctor:
Prior history of transient ischemic attacks (TIA)
Aphasia itself is a symptom of an underlying problem. If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is caused by aphasia. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
Speaking in short, fragmented phrases
Putting words in the wrong order
Using incorrect grammar
Switching sounds or words
Speaking in nonsense
Anomia (word-finding problems; words "on the tip of the tongue")
Problems understanding oral language
Needing extra time to process language
Difficulty following very fast speech
Taking the literal meaning of a figure of speech
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The neurologist who treats your brain condition will most likely recognize your aphasia and perform simple tests that require you to follow commands, answer questions, name objects, and have a conversation. You may then be referred to a speech-language pathologist, who will perform further tests to assess your speech and language skills.
Tests may include the following:
Evaluation of speech
Assessment of the strength and coordination of the speech muscles
Vocabulary and grammar tests
Reading and writing tests
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the head
—an x-ray that uses a computer to make images of structures inside the head
—a test that records brain activity by measuring electrical currents through the brain. This test may be done in some situations.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
The speech-language pathologist will help you use your remaining communication abilities, restore lost abilities, learn to compensate for language problems, and learn other methods of communicating. This therapy will likely take place in both individual and group settings.
The speech-language therapist will counsel your family in learning how to best communicate with you.
Psychological evaluation may also be helpful.
The most common cause of aphasia is stroke.
To help reduce your chances of a stroke:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Limit dietary salt and fat
If you drink, do so in moderation.
Maintain an healthy weight
Monitor and control your blood pressure
Consider taking low-dose aspirin, if your physician recommends you do so.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a