Alzheimer’s disease can lead to aphasia, which is a decline in language function due to a brain disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive dementia that causes impairment of memory, judgment, and general cognitive function.
Aphasia in Alzheimer’s disease often begins with word-finding problems, including difficulty choosing or recalling the correct words. It can affect someone’s ability to express themselves, and it can also involve comprehension. Brain tumors, infections and injuries can also cause aphasia,
This article explains some of the features, symptoms, and causes of aphasia. It also describes how to diagnose and treat aphasia.
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is a language disorder caused by brain disease or brain injury. It varies in severity, meaning it can be very mild or severe enough to make communication almost impossible. There are several types of aphasia, each caused by damage to specific areas of the brain that control certain language features.
Aphasia is often associated with stroke, head trauma, or dementia. It is rarely associated with other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. This situation takes several forms:
- Dementia-related aphasia is progressive and is associated with other effects of dementia, such as personality changes and memory loss.
- Aphasia due to a stroke occurs suddenly when an area of the brain is damaged due to a lack of blood supply.
- Aphasia due to head trauma may have fluctuating symptoms.
Aphasia is an “acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language…Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others.” It does not affect intelligence.
Aphasia can be difficult to understand and/or express. Dementia-related aphasia includes word finding problems. It can cause a person to hesitate before speaking and mentally search for the right word.
Or, when they try to speak, they may use the wrong word starting with the same letter as the desired word (“floor” instead of “flower” or “sack” instead of “sand”). Or they might describe what the word means (“You know, there’s something on the wall with numbers and time”).
Part-of-speech aphasia may manifest as:
- “Bite of the Tongue” Experience
- Difficulty naming objects or people
- Impaired comprehension of spoken or written text
- Decreased ability to write typos or make typos
- hesitant to speak
People with early-stage dementia may have more difficulty speaking than understanding. But sometimes, it’s hard to be sure. They may just look as if they understand (for example, by nodding their heads).
Other early signs of Alzheimer’s dementia may also appear with aphasia. These signs include forgetfulness, confusion, emotional outbursts, personality changes, and a sudden lack of inhibition.
Word-finding problems can cause people with aphasia to hesitate before speaking and mentally search for the right word.
When to seek medical help
Many adults may be associated with the feeling of being unable to retrieve words. They might call it “brain blockage” or “brain fog.” However, if you notice this happening more often to your loved ones, start paying attention to when and how often it happens. Does this happen when they’re tired, multitasking, or extremely stressed? Or does this happen when they are calm and relaxed?
If you find that a pattern is really interfering with their ability to communicate effectively, it may be helpful to ask your healthcare provider if they have noticed any changes in your loved one’s behavior before consulting them.
type and reason
Aphasia occurs when the areas of the brain that control language are damaged, making it difficult to speak, read, and write. The four main types of aphasia are:
- Aphasia, or when someone has trouble remembering the correct words for an object, place, or event
- Expressive aphasia, or when someone knows what they want to say but has trouble saying or writing what they mean
- Global aphasia, or when someone lacks the ability to speak, read, write, or understand speech
- Receptive aphasia, or when someone hears someone speak or reads print but cannot understand words
Aphasia in dementia is caused by the progressive degeneration of cells in the frontal lobe and limbic system of the brain. These areas control memory, judgment, problem solving, and emotions. It usually does not follow the speech patterns of other types of aphasia.
In dementia, impairment of semantic memory (the memory of understanding and recognizing words) is an important cause of difficulty finding words.
Primary progressive aphasia is a specific type of aphasia caused by dementia due to degeneration of frontal and temporal regions.it usually happens when frontotemporal lobe Dementia (FTD), and Alzheimer’s disease. It begins gradually, often with difficulty finding words and problems with naming and pronunciation. As it develops, people have problems with comprehension, reading, and writing. They may also lose the ability to speak.
What is dementia and how is it different from Alzheimer’s?
Part-of-speech aphasia is a common symptom of early Alzheimer’s disease, but there are others. Your doctor will ask about your loved one’s symptoms and may want to talk to family members. Interestingly, aphasia can affect a person’s second language before it starts affecting their first language.
During the evaluation, the doctor will also consider your loved one’s basic language skills. For example, your loved one should demonstrate familiarity with vocabulary in their field of work. Forgetting words they may use frequently and easily can be a warning sign of dementia or aphasia. The assessment may also include:
- Physical examination, including a comprehensive neurological examination, to help distinguish different causes of aphasia
- Verbal Fluency Test or Boston Naming Test
- An online dementia test called the self-administered Gerocognitive Exam SAGE test. It assesses thinking skills.
- If you are concerned that your loved one may have a stroke, get a diagnostic test, such as a brain imaging test.
multiple answers possible
Unlike the traditional school tests you may remember, some questions on the SAGE test have more than one correct answer. Doctors should score the SAGE test.
Try the best ways to prevent aphasia. Mirror tips for preventing many other diseases. They all boil down to one thing: living a healthy lifestyle. In this case, your loved one should focus on reducing the risk of stroke. By now, you probably already know this exercise:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Quit smoking and drinking (if applicable).
- Be proactive in maintaining low blood sugar, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.
- Stay mentally active with activities like puzzles and word games.
- Prevent falls and head injuries.
exercise is important
Exercise causes more blood flow to the brain, which is a good thing. “Even a small amount of weekly exercise is sufficient to enhance cognitive function and prevent aphasia.”
If your loved one is at risk of stroke, lifestyle factors and medications can reduce the risk. Even if aphasia is caused only by dementia, a stroke can make symptoms significantly worse.
Treatment of aphasia involves a multidisciplinary approach and may require medication and therapy. Doctors can prescribe medication for dementia, which may help slow the progression of the disease.
Otherwise, the treatment for aphasia is to work with a speech and language therapist to improve your loved one’s ability to communicate with others. This should be an ongoing process, especially if the underlying cause of the aphasia continues to develop.
Researchers are investigating two types of brain stimulation — transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation — to help improve recall.
No one ever said it was easy to take care of even a person with poor communication skills. Patience and support are your best coping strategies. E.g:
- Maintain eye contact and use a calm tone.
- Use short words.
- Don’t offer guesswork, chatter about choosing words, or completing sentences. It’s easier than you might think to feel frustrated and overwhelmed with aphasia. Give your loved one time to talk.
- Don’t roll your eyes, snicker, or show any other signs of impatience when you know your loved one is doing their best to communicate.
- Incorporate facial cues, gestures, and visual aids into communication instead of just relying on words.
- Verbal and non-verbal clarifications are requested. For example, if your loved one says their “fig” hurts, ask if their finger hurts and point to it.
- Don’t argue, even if your loved one seduces you. Try to appreciate just being together, even if you’re not talking.
When all is said and done, “you may find that the best way to communicate is your presence, touch, and tone of voice.”
Aphasia occurs when the area of the brain that controls language is damaged. This impairs the ability to speak and understand. Symptoms often include an inability to understand spoken or written words and difficulty speaking or writing. The four main types of aphasia include expressive aphasia (when someone knows what they want to say but has trouble speaking or writing); receptive aphasia (when someone hears sounds or sees print but cannot understand words); Aphasia (difficulty using the correct words to represent objects, places or events); and Global Aphasia (when someone is unable to speak, understand speech, read or write). Prevention and treatment of aphasia involves a multidisciplinary approach and may require medication and treatment.
Aphasia can leave a loved one guessing, but you can clear up one of the mysteries by taking your loved one to check their hearing and vision. If these feelings are getting worse, your loved one may feel more confused, agitated, or withdrawn than necessary. Shaky hearing or vision can also explain some of the behaviors you’ve been attribute to aphasia. Also, hearing and vision problems often improve easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t it common to use the wrong word as you get older?
Absolutely. Sometimes people use the wrong words when speaking due to mild dementia, stroke or simple distraction. This may become more common with age.
Difficulty finding words, what is the wrong word when speaking?
When this happens repeatedly, it is called aphasia.
How do you feel about finding words difficult?
You can work with a speech and language therapist. You can practice using more words when speaking and writing. You can also read, talk to people about a variety of topics, and listen to programs on topics of interest to maintain your vocabulary.
Reduce dementia risk through physical activity