Dysarthria means slurred speech. A pathology that causes difficulty moving the muscles in your mouth and face that control speech often cause dysarthria. Brain damage due to a stroke is the leading cause of dysarthria.
Other causes of dysarthria depend on the type of disease. Dysarthria may have its origin in the brain or causes in the muscles (neuromuscular dysarthria).
Causes of dysarthria originating in the brain are as follows:
- Brain tumors
- Head injury
- Huntington’s disease (a progressive brain disorder caused by a defective gene)
- Multiple sclerosis (a chronic condition that attacks the central nervous system)
- Parkinson’s disease (a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement)
- Cerebral palsy (a congenital disorder of mobility, muscle tone, or posture)
Neuromuscular diseases also can cause central dysarthria:
- Muscular dystrophy (a group of genetic diseases that damage and weaken your muscles over time)
- Myasthenia gravis (weakness and rapid fatigue of the muscles under voluntary control)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (progressive degeneration of the neuromuscular cells)
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your nerves)
- Side effects of certain medications such as sedatives and anti-seizure drugs
Peripheral dysarthria develops from damage to the speech organs that alter a person’s sound. Causes include:
- Congenital structural problems
- Trauma to the face or mouth
- Surgery to the head, neck, tongue, or voice box
Other causes include:
What are the symptoms of dysarthria?
The symptoms of dysarthria may vary, depending on the underlying medical condition and type of dysarthria. Symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Slow speech
- Inability to speak louder than a whisper or speaking too loudly
- Rapid speech that is difficult to understand
- Nasal, croaky, or strained voice
- Uneven or abnormal speech rhythm
- Uneven speech volume
- Monotone speech
- Trouble moving your tongue or facial muscles
What is the treatment for dysarthria?
The treatment depends on the type and severity of the disease. The speech and language pathologists may work on
- Improving your speech.
- Strengthening your mouth muscles.
- Using more breath to speak louder.
- Moving your lips and tongue more.
- Using alternative methods of communication such as gestures, writing, or using computers.
- Saying sounds clearly in words and sentences.
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