Aphasia is a communication disorder. People with aphasia may have difficulty with the expression and/or understanding of language, as well as reading and writing.
Aphasia is caused by an injury to parts of the brain that are involved with language. The injury may be the result of:
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Aphasia is more common in older people. Other factors that may increase your chance of aphasia include:
Aphasia is a symptom of an underlying problem. It may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
If you have a brain condition, you are probably already seeing a doctor who specializes in the nervous system. This doctor will most likely be able to recognize your aphasia. Some simple tests may be done. For example, you may be asked to follow commands, answer questions, name objects, and have a conversation. You may then be referred to a speech-language pathologist who will perform additional tests to assess your speech and language skills.
Imaging tests are used to evaluate the brain and other structures. These may include:
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Your brain activity may be measured. This can be done with electroencephalogram (EEG).
You may also be given the following specialized tests:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment will focus on:
Options for treating aphasia itself include:
A speech-language specialist will help you:
This therapy may take place in both individual and group settings.
A speech-language therapist will help you and your family learn how to best communicate with each other.
Psychological evaluation may also be helpful.
Since stroke is a common cause of aphasia, follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke:
If you have signs of a stroke, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Aphasia Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
The Aphasia Institute
Brain Injury Association of Alberta
Aphasia. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Aphasia. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Aphasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 2, 2012. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Aphasia. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx. Updated October 2008. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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