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Language vs. Speech – What's the Difference for Stroke Survivors?

By HERWriter
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what's the difference for stroke survivors: language vs. speech Jaimie Duplass/PhotoSpin

Slurred speech is commonly recognized as a symptom that someone has had a stroke. But speech difficulties resulting from a stroke can be much more complicated than just slurred words.

According to the National Stroke Association, approximately one in four stroke survivors has some degree of language difficulty. Problems communicating may be the result of a speech problem or a language problem, or a combination of the two.

Defining Stroke

A stroke is a condition that results from damage to part of the brain. This damage is caused when an artery that carries blood to the brain is blocked by a clot or the artery bursts.

The portion of the brain that received blood from that artery does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs when the blood supply is cut off. This causes the brain cells to die.

Minor strokes may cause little or no lasting damage. More serious strokes can cause long-lasting or permanent damage to the brain, including the portions of the brain that control language and speech.

Language Problems

Aphasia is difficulty using or understanding words as a result of damage to the brain caused by a stroke or other brain injury. People with aphasia may have difficulty understanding what is said to them or may not be able to find the right words to express themselves.

Some people with aphasia lose the ability to understand grammatically correct sentences. Others may have difficulty reading or writing words and sentences. Aphasia can also affect the ability to use numbers and do calculations and to communicate using non-verbal gestures.

Difficulty Speaking

Apraxia is a neurological condition that makes it difficult or impossible to make certain motor movements. Although the muscles are capable of moving, the nerves fail to carry the signal from the brain to execute the motion.

Apraxia of speech is a specific type of apraxia that affects the mouth and tongue. This condition may prevent a person from moving the mouth and tongue to shape words which limits the ability to speak.

There are two types of apraxia of speech.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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