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Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. Aphasia can affect your ability to express and understand language, both verbal and written. The amount of disability depends on the location and the severity of the brain damage that is the cause. Aphasia typically occurs suddenly, after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually, from a slowly growing brain tumor or a degenerative disease. Once the underlying cause has been treated, the primary treatment for aphasia is speech therapy that focuses on relearning and practicing language skills and using alternative or supplementary communication methods. Family members often participate in the therapy process and function as communication partners of the person with aphasia.
Complications of Aphasia
Aphasia can create numerous quality-of-life problems because communications is so much a part of your life. Communication difficulty may affect your:
Language barriers may lead to embarrassment, depression and relationship problems.
Causes of Aphasia
Signs & Symptoms of Aphasia
Aphasia is a sign of some other condition, such as a stroke or a brain tumor.
A person with aphasia may:
The severity and scope of the problems depend on the extent of damage and the area of the brain affected. Some people may comprehend what others say relatively well but struggle to find words to speak. Other people may be able to understand what they read, but yet can't speak so that others can understand them.
Diagnosis of Aphasia
Your doctor will likely request an imaging test, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to quickly identify what's causing the aphasia.
You'll also likely undergo tests and informal observations to assess your language skills, such as the ability to:
Treatments of Aphasia
If the brain damage is mild, a person may recover language skills without treatment. However, most people undergo speech and language therapy to rehabilitate their language skills and supplement their communication experiences.
Speech and language rehabilitation
Recovery of language skills is usually a relatively slow process. Although most people make significant progress, few people regain full pre-injury communication levels. In aphasia, speech and language therapy:
When to seek Medical Advice
Because aphasia is often a sign of a serious problem, such as a stroke, seek emergency medical care if you suddenly develop:
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