The Aphasia is a language disorder characterized by an alteration in the expression and compression. The cause lies in damage in an area of the brain (right or left hemisphere depending on whether the person is right-handed or left-handed) specializing in language. What are the symptoms of aphasia? How to diagnose? What is the most appropriate treatment?
Aphasia may manifest itself as a total or partial loss of language, causing alterations in grammar, semantics, lexicon and phonology. According to medical data, three of every ten patients that have suffered a stroke are loss of the speech, more or less prolonged, and that can affect both reading and writing.
Aphasia can be of various types, depending on the degree of loss of speech. Thus, it can be distinguish between:
- Sensory or Wernicke’s aphasia: When there is a difficulty of compression of simple words. In these cases, the patient tends to change a few words for others.
- Broca’s or motor aphasia: When the alteration affects the expression, preventing the patient to form correctly the phrases.
- Amnesic aphasia: When multiple breaks occur in the same sentence to find the words.
- Global aphasia: The most severe type of aphasia since it affects all areas of language, reading, writing, and compression.
The main cause, more than 80% of cases, is a stroke or cerebral infarction, but also may be other causes behind, such as head injury, intracranial hemorrhages, infections, brain tumors or dementia. For proper diagnosis, among other tests, the doctor may prescribe X-rays of the skull, electroencephalogram (EEG), CT or MRI, lumbar puncture and arteriography. Also, the patient will also have to perform so-called Token and Aachen test to assess the type of aphasia and the level of severity.
In case of aphasia, we need to enlist the help of a speech therapist, which through various technical help to recover oral ability. It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible once diagnosed aphasia.