• Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

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What Is Aphasia Bruce Willis’s Diagnosis, Explained

While aphasia occurs mostly in patients over the age of 65, it can develop at any age. The condition can come on suddenly, particularly in the wake of a stroke, but some people with aphasia develop it gradually. “Their sentences become shorter and shorter,” Dr. Hussain said. “Then, they get to a point where they have difficulty expressing any language at all.” Patients may also find that their ability to read or write worsens over time.

“Everyone can have periods where they’re busy or distracted or forgetting a word,” Dr. Hussain said. But if your inability to communicate holds you back from day-to-day activities, keeps growing more severe or, crucially, if friends and family point out a pattern that you are not aware of, seek medical attention, he said. People with aphasia typically lose insight into their interactions with others.

“If it’s really preventing your communication, that’s when you should be worried,” Dr. Bonakdarpour said. “If you’re forgetting a word here and there, that’s OK.”

There is no guaranteed technique to prevent aphasia, but you can take simple steps to boost your brain health in general, Dr. Hussain said. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and watch out for stroke risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Smoking can also elevate your risk for stroke and aphasia. “The healthier you can keep your brain overall, the less a chance of these or other issues of the brain developing,” Dr. Hussain said.

While there is no cure, patients with aphasia can seek speech and occupational therapy.

The National Aphasia Association recommends two primary methods of treatment. Impairment-based therapies involve evaluating and then targeting specific reading, speaking and writing skills through activities like fill-in-the-blank exercises and training patients to remember synonyms and antonyms. Communication-based therapies focus on rebuilding conversation and cognition skills that patients use to participate in everyday activities; they may role-play scenarios like ordering a coffee or speaking on a video call, said Ms. Gendal, the speech-language pathologist.

Support groups are also available across the United States and online to help people cope with the toll of the condition.