Even though aphasia impacts nearly two million people across the country, many Americans aren’t well educated about the condition. In fact, The National Aphasia Association found that 84 percent of people polled had never even heard of the word “aphasia.” National Aphasia Awareness Month this June is a great time to raise awareness about what causes this neurological condition and how best to treat it. Aphasia can have a wide-reaching impact on a person’s life, and recovery requires prompt treatments. As a result, recognizing the signs is critically important.
What is Aphasia?
Aphasia is a condition that affects a person’s ability to speak. Rather than a disease itself, aphasia is a symptom of some other event such as a stroke or brain damage. A person with this condition might struggle to communicate coherently, understand other people’s clear speech, and be unable to read or write correctly. Signs of the condition include any of the following:
- Using incomplete or short sentences.
- Not making sense in verbal speech.
- Using incorrect or unrecognizable words.
- An inability to understand speech or writing .
- Struggling to name objects.
- Being unable to write sentences that make sense.
Three Aphasia Patterns
In addition to the general signs of aphasia, this condition has three main patterns. The first, expressive aphasia (also known as Broca’s or nonfluent aphasia), usually centers on a person’s ability to speak rather than understand. People experiencing this pattern might speak in short sentences, omit words, or struggle to get their words out while nonetheless able to understand people speaking to them. It may also involve right-side paralysis or weakness.
The second pattern is comprehensive aphasia which causes people to speak in long, smooth sentences that don’t make sense. They may also include incorrect or unnecessary words. People experiencing the second pattern often don’t realize that other people have trouble understanding them.
Lastly, people with global aphasia often experience poor comprehension as well as difficulty forming words and sentences. This pattern tends to be the most severe, and represents extensive brain damage.
What Causes Aphasia?
Aphasia is always the result of a secondary cause or injury, and can often develop suddenly after a physically traumatic event. Stroke-related brain damage is the most common cause. During a stroke, a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and prevents the proper flow of blood to the brain, damaging brain cells. If the brain damage affects language processing centers in the brain, aphasia is a common side effect. Head injuries or brain tumors can also cause aphasia.
On the other hand, primary progressive aphasia develops gradually as a result of brain cells deteriorating in the brain’s language centers. This condition is associated with dementia and may take years to progress.
Aphasia can have a broad impact on a person’s ability to function, communicate, and go through daily life. In mild cases, some aphasia may actually resolve itself without treatment. However, treating aphasia is essential when it’s paired with other common stroke symptoms such as partial paralysis and weakness. Most people need speech therapy to return to their previous level of function. While many people make significant strides in regaining their ability to speak and understand, it may not be possible to reach pre-injury communication levels again.
While researchers are testing some medications, rehabilitation and therapy are the primary treatment options. Starting early after the brain injury, working in groups, and using computer tools are all excellent ways to treat aphasia. However, people with primary progressive aphasia do not have as many options because it’s caused by slow degeneration in the the brain. However, speech therapy can help slow the progression and manage symptoms in the meantime.
People living with this condition often struggle with several other side effects which impact their ability to care for themselves. In cases when a person needs help during the recovery process, an in-home caregiver can be an excellent companion while undergoing recovery therapy. From preparing meals to providing transportation and cleaning the house, an in-home caregiver is invaluable when you need them most.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.