Dysphasia is a language disorder associated with brain damage. It can occur when a head injury or stroke damages parts of the brain. People with this condition have difficulty speaking and putting their thoughts into words. The condition may also affect a person’s ability to read and write. There are several types of dysphasia.
Causes of Dysphasia
Stroke is the most common cause of dysphasia. When you have a stroke, parts of your brain are damaged, sometimes including those associated with language. Infections, head injuries, and tumors can cause dysphasia, as well. The condition can also result in temporary brain damage, which means most people who develop dysphasia after an accident are able to regain regular function.
Symptoms of dysphasia include broken speech, lack of vocabulary, difficulty learning a language, difficulty understanding and learning new ideas, cognitive disorders, and trouble concentrating. Having a combination of these problems makes it easier for a doctor to diagnose the condition. If you have a recent head injury and notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. Since dysphasia is related to brain injuries, immediate treatment will help prevent permanent damage.
The expressive type of dysphasia affects language output and speech. There are two main types of expressive dysphasia: Broca’s dysphasia and transcortical dysphasia. Broca’s involves damage to an area of the brain called Broca’s area, which is directly responsible for the production of speech. People with this condition find it extremely difficult to form words. Transcortical dysphasia affects the nerve fibers that carry information between the brain’s language centers and can affect other parts of communication such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and emotion.
Receptive Types of Dysphasia
Receptive dysphasia affects language comprehension. People affected by this condition can speak, but others are often unable to understand them. There are three types of receptive dysphasia. The first, Wernicke’s, affects an area of the brain called Wernicke’s area, that helps us learn the meanings of words. Another type of receptive dysphasia is anomic. People with this condition often have trouble finding the words they need and may also have trouble with names. The last type of receptive dysphasia is conduction. This type of dysphasia is the rarest and presents as difficulty repeating what one hears.
People with the global type of dysphasia often find it extremely difficult to understand and express language. Global dysphasia results from widespread damage to the language centers of the brain and is typically caused by a severe stroke that affects these and other regions.
If you have certain conditions, you may be more at risk for dysphasia. If you have experienced a stroke or brain damage, or have Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, dementia, or seizures, your risk is higher than people without these conditions. Regardless of the risk factors you possess, if you notice any of the symptoms we have mentioned, contact your doctor.
Since dysphasia often appears suddenly, your doctor may recommend testing. Some of the tests used to find out if you have dysphasia include a neurological exam, physical exam, a speech-language evaluation, MRI scanning of the brain, and reflex testing.
Doctors often recommend speech and language therapists to individuals with dysphasia. These therapists use techniques to help patients regain control of their language skills, and can also teach people other ways to communicate, such as sign language, if they are unable to recover fully. In some cases of dysphasia, people regain full control of their language skills, while other types present more difficulties.
There is no surefire way to prevent dysphasia, but you can take precautions. Reduce your risk of having a stroke by quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol consumption. Also, consider protecting your head while playing sports or riding vehicles that require a helmet.
Support for Dysphasia
If you have a form of dysphasia or know someone who does, many websites can offer the support you need to deal with the problems associated with the condition. Finding this ongoing support can help to ensure you live a happy and productive life, even with dysphasia.