Aphasia – Causes, symptoms, types, and treatment

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Aphasia is a communication disorder that occurs due to brain damage. It steals the ability to communicate in a person.

This condition occurs as a result of brain damage in one or more areas of the brain, particularly the area that controls language abilities.

This communication disorder can intervene in a person’s ability to communicate verbally or in written communication.

Aphasia creates a problem for a person to

  • Read
  • Speak
  • Understand speech
  • Write and
  • Listen

What are the types of aphasia?

Aphasia is of three types, namely:

  • Expressive aphasia
  • Receptive aphasia
  • Primary progressive aphasia

Expressive aphasia is when a person knows what they want to convey yet finds it difficult to communicate it with others.

Receptive aphasia is when a person can hear a voice or read a text but doesn’t understand the context of it. Sometimes a person would not understand their language while suffering from receptive aphasia.

Primary progressive aphasia is a condition where a person’s language capacity will slowly worsen over a period of time. Here the deterioration will occur slowly over a period of time.

What are the symptoms of aphasia?

The symptoms of aphasia can be mild or severe. It entirely depends on the damage incurred by the brain. If the brain damage is severe, then the symptoms would be severe too.

The most commonly exhibited symptoms of aphasia are:

  • Speaking short or incomplete sentences
  • Speaking in a way others can’t understand
  • Using irrelevant words
  • Having no proper sentence formation
  • Experiencing difficulty in understanding speech
  • Unable to follow fast speech
  • Misunderstanding other’s communication/ language
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Difficulty in understanding

What are the causes of aphasia?

Aphasia is caused as a result of brain damage. Some of the common causes are:

  • Tumours in the brain
  • Infections
  • Head injury
  • Stroke
  • Neurological disorders
  • Degenerative diseases

Among all the factors, stroke is the most common cause of this condition.

Sometimes aphasia may be temporary. Temporary causes of aphasia include weakness or numbness in the body. Any form of aphasia requires immediate treatment.

Diagnosing and treating aphasia

A doctor would suggest an MRI scan to identify the location of damage and its severity.

A doctor would examine and test a patient’s ability to

  • Engage in conversations
  • Answer to questions
  • Read and write words
  • Following commands or instructions

Medical professionals use the help of speech-language pathologists to identify communication disabilities.

Treatment for this disorder depends upon the type and the pattern of aphasia.

Treating the underlying brain injury is mandatory. Certain types of aphasia will improve with speech-language therapy.

Treatment may include:

  • Performing exercises to develop communication
  • Group work to improve communication
  • Testing skills in real-life situations
  • Learning to use non-verbal communication
  • Re-learning words and sound

These are the exercises which would improve a person’s condition. Emotional support and talk therapy are recommended if a person is struggling with aphasia.

Can we prevent aphasia?

Due to the nature of occurrence, this condition is not preventable. However, the most common cause of aphasia is stroke.

If a person can reduce the risk of stroke, they, in turn, reduce the risk of aphasia.

To reduce the risk of stroke, a person needs to

  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Making exercise a priority
  • Consuming a diet low in sodium
  • Managing BP and diabetes

To sum up

Treating this medical condition differs from person to person based on their health conditions.

Communicating with a person having this condition requires patience and understanding.

Communication plays an important role in everyone’s life, as it may affect a person’s job, relationship, and day-to-day functioning.

Any barriers in that may lead to embarrassment and other health conditions.

Recognising and treating aphasia is important.

Talking to a medical professional would provide more valuable insights on how to deal with a person suffering from aphasia.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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