Communication disorder commonly caused by stroke

People with aphasia may have difficulty finding words or understanding what’s being said. They may also have trouble writing their thoughts and ideas clearly. Common causes of this condition include brain injury, brain infection, or brain tumor that affects the parts of the brain that influence language. It may also be caused by dementia, such as Alzheimer disease, and in some cases, epilepsy. It is common in older people who have had a stroke.

Types of aphasia and effect on speech and writing ability

Aphasia may be mild or severe, and may affect a person’s speech or writing ability. It may affect expression, or it may affect a person’s ability to understand what’s being spoken or written. The different types of aphasia include:

  • Expressive aphasia – When the person knows what they want to say but have a hard time communicating it, either verbally or in writing
  • Receptive aphasia – When the person has difficulty perceiving what is said or written due to lack of understanding of the communication
  • Anomic aphasia – When the person has difficulty finding the right words to speak or write
  • Global aphasia – When the person is unable to read, write, speak or understand words (often right after having had a stroke)
  • Primary progressive aphasia – When the person slowly loses the ability to read, write, speak and understand; a rare disorder for which there is no treatment

In order to diagnose aphasia, a physician will perform a number of tests, such as asking the person to identify names of common objects. The types of testing performed will also depend on the cause of the aphasia. In cases of brain tumor, for example, surgical removal of the tumor may improve the condition. Treatment may include medication and speech and language therapy.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.