Aphasia is a condition characterized by the inability to communicate. It can affect a person’s ability to express themselves and understand language , both verbally and in writing.

The condition occurs suddenly after a stroke or head injury. But it can also be caused by a slowly growing tumor in the brain or a degenerative disease.

The degree of impairment of the ability to communicate depends on the location and degree of brain damage.

Once the root cause of the condition is removed such as by curing the causative disease.

The main therapy used to restore communication skills is speech therapy.

What are the symptoms?

• Speaking in short or incomplete sentences;
• Speech consists of sentences that do not make sense;
• Saying unrecognizable words;
• Affected individuals are unable to understand other people’s conversation;
• Interpreting metaphors literally;
• Writing sentences that do not make sense;

The severity and extent of communication disorders depends on the degree of damage and the location in the brain.

Some of those affected may be able to understand what is being said to them, but have difficulty finding the words to carry on a normal conversation.

And others may be able to understand what they read, but still fail to speak in a way that others can understand.

Types of aphasia

• Nonfluent or Broca’s – damage to the language center near the left front of the brain, or Broca’s area, usually results in this form of the condition.

Affected individuals have difficulty finding words when speaking, which results in speech consisting of very short sentences and occasional omissions of words.

Although the sentences are usually only incomplete, the listener cannot understand their meaning.

People with this form of communication disorder are often aware of their own communication difficulties and may become frustrated with these limitations. In addition, affected individuals may have unilateral paralysis.

Fluent – the result of damage to the language center in the middle left side of the brain or Wernicke’s area.

In people with this form of the condition, their speech is usually slurred and consists of long and complex sentences that do not make sense or are unclear, with imprecise or unnecessary words.

They usually do not understand well what another person is saying to them and are often unable to realize that others cannot find meaning in their speech.

Global – due to serious damage to the language brain centers, those affected have severe disturbances in communicative abilities during the process of speaking and understanding.

When should you seek medical help?

Because the condition is in most cases the result of the occurrence of a serious health problem such as a stroke.

Seek emergency medical help right away if you or someone close to you develops the following symptoms:

• Suddenly begins to speak with difficulty;
• Becomes partially or completely unable to understand speech;
• Sudden difficulties in reading and writing;
• Difficulty choosing the right words and speech when speaking is interrupted by large spaces in an attempt to find the appropriate word.

Treatment of aphasia

If the brain damage is minor, the affected person will recover his communicative abilities even without treatment. However, most people undergo speech and language therapy to fully restore and even improve their communication skills.

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