Aphasia is a condition that occurs due to damage to part of the brain that is responsible for language and communication.The onset of aphasia is usually sudden with stroke and severe head trauma as the primary causes.
Brain tumors, infection, and dementia are also known to cause aphasia but those occur slowly over time. Because it affects the part of the brain responsible for language, speech and even reading and writing are affected. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders the National Aphasia Association claims that, “…approximately 80,000 individuals acquire aphasia each year from strokes. About one million people in the United States currently have aphasia.”
There are two types of Aphasia: fluent and non-fluent.
Fluent aphasia, also known as Wernicke’s aphasia, occurs from damage to the left side of the brain. Those who suffer from this type may speak in long, incoherent sentences, making up words while unaware of what they’re doing. No evidence of physical difficulties is observed.Non-fluent aphasia, also known as Broca’s aphasia, results fromdamage to the frontal lobe of the brain. People with this type often omit words and will speak in short, choppy sentences but are fully aware of their difficulties. This type might also suffer from weakness on the right side of the body because the frontal lobe also affects movement.
A neurologist is usually the doctor to recognize and diagnose aphasia by performing tests that require the patient to follow a set of commands and tasks like naming objects, answering questions, and taking part in a conversation. If aphasia is diagnosed the patient will be referred to a specialist.Recovery can happen for some patients without the need for speech therapy but it may take longer for others. Depending on the severity of the brain damage, which part of the brain was affected, and the age and of the patient, full recovery may be achieved but sometimes some aphasia will remain.