Aphasia

Definition

Aphasia is a disorder that affects the ability to communicate. People with aphasia may have difficulty with the expression and/or understanding of language, as well as reading and writing. There are 2 types of aphasia:
  • Expressive aphasia: difficulty communicating thoughts through speech and writing
  • Receptive aphasia: problems understanding spoken or written language

Causes

Aphasia is caused by an injury to parts of the brain that are involved with language. The injury may be the result of:
  • Stroke—most common cause
  • Traumatic head injury
  • Gunshot wound
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain infection
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Other brain conditions
Stroke
si1213 97870 1 Ischemic Stroke.jpg
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Aphasia is more common in older people. Other factors that may increase your chance of aphasia include:
  • Increasing age
  • Family history of aphasia
  • Prior history of transient ischemic attacks (TIA)—also called mini-strokes

Symptoms

Aphasia is a symptom of an underlying problem. It may include:
  • Difficulty speaking:
    • Speaking in short, fragmented phrases
    • Putting words in the wrong order
    • Using incorrect grammar
    • Switching sounds or words
    • Speaking in nonsense
    • Anomia—word-finding problems
  • Problems understanding oral language:
    • Needing extra time to process language
    • Difficulty following very fast speech
    • Taking the literal meaning of a figure of speech
  • Problems reading
  • Problems writing

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