- There are two types of aphasia: expression and comprehension.
- It is optimal for people with language problems to start treatment early.
- Aphasia is not curable, but with correct treatment, it can be rehabilitated.
Stroke, head injuries, brain tumors, or even some degenerative diseases are situations that can trigger aphasia in the patient.
Any language disorder that is the consequence of some type of lesion in the cerebral cortex is known as aphasia, and can manifest mainly in two types:
- Expression aphasia. Patients have difficulty finding the right words when speaking.
- Comprehension aphasia. Patients have difficulty understanding what is said to them and therefore obeying orders.
Dr. Paul David Uribe Jaimes, a clinical neurologist and chief of neuroscience at ABC Medical Center, points out that aphasia is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of some lesion within the area that produces language.
“Aphasia, which is more common than Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy, affects about 2 million people according to the National Aphasia Association.” 1
Every person has two main language areas interconnected with each other. One is called Broca’s area and the second is known as Wernicke’s area and, together, they help to understand language or to express it.
The most frequent origin of aphasia is cerebrovascular events, which can be a heart attack or hemorrhage on the left side of the brain, which frequently affects the language area. Head injuries and, in very few cases, some degenerative diseases also produce aphasia.
In expression aphasia, it can be noticed that the patient has difficulty naming objects as if the dictionary in the head had been lost. Changing the name of an object to another or using totally different words than what they wanted to say. Also the difficulty in grammatical coherence or changing the order of the words are usually symptoms of this type of aphasia.
While, in comprehension aphasia, patients give the impression of being confused by answering totally inappropriate things to what they have been asked. They can speak coherently, but not understanding what is being said can be interpreted as confusion.
The aphasia urgency
In most patients, aphasia arises as a consequence of a stroke and, therefore, it is sudden. They are patients who from one moment to the next start having problems expressing themselves or understanding.
Dr. Uribe indicates that in case of identifying that a patient is having this type of problem they should go to an emergency unit immediately to receive the appropriate treatment and minimize aftereffects that could become permanent if they are not treated properly.
Aphasia is not curable, but it can always be rehabilitated, a situation that every patient must understand. For this, people with language problems must receive early and appropriate rehabilitation to gradually recover their functions, led by a language specialist.
Although recovery time can vary depending on the person, the cause and the degree of brain damage, all patients who undergo speech therapy rehabilitation will get an improvement in their communication skills. The worst scenario is when it is not treated, so it is necessary to seek treatment as soon as possible to achieve improvement.
We can provide you with specialized care at the ABC Medical Center’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Area. Contact us!
Dr. Paul David Uribe Jaimes – Clinical neurologist and head of neuroscience teaching at ABC Medical Center