Aphasia is a communication disorder caused by damage to the brain. This disorder can affect the ability to speak and write, as well as the ability to understand words when reading or listening.
Generally people with aphasia will be wrong in choosing and stringing words into a correct sentence. However, this condition does not affect the level of intelligence and memory of the sufferer.
Aphasia can occur suddenly after a patient has had a stroke or head injury. However, aphasia can also develop gradually if it is caused by a brain tumor or dementia.
Causes of Aphasia
Aphasia is not a disease, but rather a symptom that indicates damage to the part of the brain that regulates language and communication.
One of the most common causes of brain damage that triggers aphasia is stroke. When you have a stroke, the lack of blood flow to the brain causes brain cell death or damage to the part of the brain that processes language. Approximately 25-40% of stroke patients will suffer from aphasia.
Brain damage from a head injury, brain tumor , or encephalitis can also cause aphasia. In these cases, usually aphasia will be accompanied by other disorders, such as impaired memory and impaired consciousness.
In addition, aphasia can occur due to diseases that cause decreased function of brain cells, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease . In this condition, aphasia will develop gradually as the disease progresses.
Symptoms of aphasia can vary, depending on the part of the brain that is damaged and the extent of the damage. Based on the symptoms that appear, aphasia can be divided into several types, namely:
- Wernicke's aphasia (receptive)
Wernicke's aphasia is known as receptive aphasia or sensory aphasia . Wernicke's aphasia is usually caused by damage to the brain in the left center. In this aphasia, the sufferer will have difficulty understanding or understanding the words that are heard or read. As a result, the patient will issue sentences or words that are also difficult for the other person to understand.
- Broca's aphasia (expressive)
In Broca's aphasia or expressive aphasia or motor aphasia , the patient knows what he wants to convey to the other person, but has difficulty in expressing it. Broca's aphasia is usually caused by damage to the brain on the left front.
aphasia Global aphasia is the most severe aphasia and usually occurs when a person has just had a stroke . Global aphasia is usually caused by extensive damage to the brain. People with global aphasia will have difficulty even not being able to read, write, and understand other people's words.
- Primary progressive aphasia
This condition causes a gradual decline in the ability to read, write, speak, and understand conversation. Primary progressive aphasia is rare and difficult to treat.
aphasia Patients with anomic aphasia or anomia often have difficulty choosing and finding the right words when writing and speaking.
When to go to the doctor
Since aphasia is a symptom of a more serious condition, see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms. A doctor's examination is needed to prevent the condition from getting worse and prevent complications.
Diagnosis of Aphasia
To diagnose aphasia, the doctor will ask the patient's symptoms as well as the patient's and family's medical history, either directly to the patient or to the family accompanying the patient.
After that, a thorough physical examination will be carried out including an examination of the nervous system .
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will also perform several supporting examinations below:
assessment This examination aims to measure the patient's ability to write, read, speak, understand conversation, and verbal expression.
scan Scanning aims to detect any damage to the brain and see how severe the damage is. The scan can be done with an MRI , CT scan , or using a positron emission tomography (PET scan).
Treatment of aphasia depends on the type of aphasia, the part of the brain that is damaged, the cause of the brain damage, and the age and condition of the patient. If the brain damage is mild, the aphasia may improve on its own. If the condition is severe enough, treatment can be carried out by the following methods:
Speech and language therapy sessions aim to improve communication and speaking skills. This therapy session should be done regularly. Speech therapy can be done using technology such as computer programs or applications. This therapy is recommended for patients with aphasia due to stroke.
Some types of drugs can also be given by the doctor to help treat aphasia. The drugs given usually work by increasing blood flow to the brain, preventing further brain damage, and increasing the amount of chemical compounds that are reduced in the brain.
Surgical procedures may also be performed if the aphasia is caused by a brain tumor. Surgery aims to remove tumors in the brain. This procedure is expected to help with aphasia.
Because it affects the ability to communicate, aphasia can have an impact on the daily life of the sufferer, including in terms of work and personal relationships. If not treated properly, aphasia can also lead to anxiety disorders , depression , and feelings of isolation.
There is no sure way to prevent aphasia. The best thing that can be done is to prevent conditions that can cause aphasia. Prevention can be done by living a healthy lifestyle, such as:
- Quit smoking
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Maintain ideal body weight and avoid obesity
- Do exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes every day
- Keeping the mind active, for example by reading or writing