What are the causes of aphasia and its different types?

One of the most common signs of a stroke is the sudden onset of aphasia. If you notice that you or someone around you suddenly has problems with speech, call 911 immediately, because getting treatment is critical and can reduce long-term aphasia and other problems caused by brain damage caused by a stroke.

Depending on the type, people with aphasia are often able to think clearly but may not find the words they want to say — such as trying to remember words in another language that you studied a long time ago. But aphasia is more dangerous than having trouble remembering the name of the last book you read or your neighbor’s daughter. “We all have tip-tongue moments all the time,” says Purna Punakdarpour, MD, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, but aphasia is different. “It happens constantly. It affects their work. They may find it difficult to read email, text messages or talk to people. It affects their daily activities.”

Common causes

Botha says that stroke is the most common cause of aphasia in the United States. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), which occurs when blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked, can cause short-term aphasia that goes away within a few hours or days. A TIA should be taken seriously, when going to the emergency room, as it is often a sign of a more serious stroke. A severe head injury, for example, an accident can cause aphasia, as can a tumor. Aphasia can also develop slowly, and is usually caused by a progressive brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease or another neurological disorder.

Types of aphasia

Aphasia is broadly divided into two types: fluent and non-fluent, which have subtypes. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Expressive aphasia, also called Broca’s aphasia, It is a non-fluent aphasia. People with this type of aphasia often have right-sided weakness or paralysis. They may understand speech and know what they want to say but find it difficult to pronounce words. Because they usually understand other people’s words and their own difficulties fairly well, they can get frustrated and frustrated.
  • Primary progressive aphasia An umbrella term for several types of aphasia that usually develop slowly and gradually and impair a person’s ability to read, write, and speak. It usually has an underlying neurological cause such as frontal temporal dementia. Because of the slow progression, it can be difficult to diagnose.

Diagnosis and treatment

Experts say it’s essential to diagnose aphasia early.

When the cause is not clear, doctors may test a person’s ability to speak and understand language by ordering a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to determine the location of the injury in the brain. Then the speech therapist makes an assessment of the person’s ability to read, write, answer questions, name objects, and speak.

Treatment almost always includes speech therapy, but the best treatment for aphasia depends on the underlying cause of the condition.

When someone comes to the emergency room with aphasia from a stroke, they are often given clot-busting drugs that can lessen the long-term effects of the stroke. About a third of strokes result in aphasia, according to the National Aphasia Association. People who have had a stroke can improve their speech over time with the help of speech therapy.

Alzheimer’s patients receive treatment for this disease. There is no cure for primary progressive aphasia, although patients who work with speech therapists can sometimes slow the progression of aphasia.

Helping aphasia sufferers

Because many people with aphasia think clearly but cannot communicate well, those around them sometimes think they’ve lost their intelligence when they didn’t. “People with aphasia can appear to be more cognitively impaired than they really are,” Botta says.

Speech therapists can work with family members to help them understand how best to communicate with loved ones who have aphasia. Botha says it helps to keep sentences and questions simple. Try to be in the same room as someone with aphasia so they can read your body language. Avoid correcting the person’s speech. Radio, television, loud restaurants, and other sources of distraction can make it difficult for aphasia sufferers to communicate and pay attention.

Punakdarpour says it is important for people with aphasia to remain active. While the left side of the brain is often damaged, the right side may be healthy. Drawing, painting, and even singing are activities that aphasia sufferers can enjoy and even excel at. Instead of ignoring or talking to someone with aphasia, it is better to speak slowly and clearly and wait for their reaction. Help them feel valued and included. “Isolation is the worst thing that can happen,” he says. “Isolation makes brain diseases worse. The less you use your brain, the worse it gets.”

Elizabeth Agnval is the health and healthy living editor at aarp.org. She has worked as Editor for Staying Sharp, AARP’s Brain Health Platform and as Health Editor at AARP . Bulletin. as I wrote to Washington Post Health department.


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