What Happens When You Have Aphasia?

Medically Reviewed on 12/16/2022
Managing chronic health conditions and eating a balanced diet could help reduce your risk of aphasia.

Aphasia is a disorder caused by damage to a specific area of the brain that controls speech. 

Aphasia makes it difficult to speak and understand what others are speaking, which causes communication problems.

In most cases, aphasia results from brain stroke (a lack of proper blood supply to a particular area of the brain). Aphasia can affect anyone; middle-aged people are at a higher risk.

What are the types of aphasia?

Based on the affected area of the brain, aphasia is classified into three types:

  1. Broca’s aphasia: Also called expressive aphasia. The person knows what they want to express but has difficulty finding and saying the right words. The most common cause is a damaged front region (language dominant area) of the brain.
    • Symptoms include:
      • Reduced speech
      • Limited vocabulary
      • Uncoordinated formation of sounds
      • Difficulty writing
  2. Wernicke’s aphasia: Occurs due to the damage caused in the side region of language dominant area of the brain. The person will be able to make long sentences, but they will not have any meaning.
    • Symptoms include:
      • Improper reading and writing
      • Unable to grasp the meaning of spoken words
  3. Anomic aphasia: Difficulty finding words to write and speak.

What are the causes of aphasia?

Aphasia can occur due to brain damage, which could be caused by:

What are the symptoms of aphasia?

The symptoms vary among people depending on the type of aphasia.

The following are the few common symptoms of aphasia:

  • Produce incomplete sentences
  • Speak in short sentences
  • Speak sentences that do not make any meaning
  • Substitute one word for the other
  • Difficulty finding words
  • Cannot understand conversations and what they read
  • Write sentences that do not make any meaning


Brain Food Pictures: What to Eat to Boost Focus See Slideshow

How to diagnose aphasia

Aphasia is diagnosed using a combination of physical examination and imaging tests, such as:

  • Sensory and nerve function tests: Help rule out any hearing issues and nerve damage that cause aphasia.
  • Cognitive and memory tests: Help rule out memory and thinking problems.
  • Diagnostic and imaging tests:

How to treat aphasia

The treatment mainly includes regaining speech and treating the underlying cause.

The following are the different ways to treat aphasia:

  • Speech therapies
  • Medications (to increase blood flow to the affected brain area and improve symptoms)

How to reduce the risk of aphasia

The following are the ways to reduce the risk of aphasia:

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • Never ignore infections (infections may spread to the brain and cause brain damage, leading to aphasia)
  • Wear protective gear while driving to prevent head injuries
  • Manage chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and epilepsy, which may result in brain damage
Medically Reviewed on 12/16/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Aphasia. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/aphasia

Aphasia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aphasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369523

Aphasia. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5502-aphasia