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Aphasia (say "a-FAY-zha") is the loss of communication skills. Aphasia may affect how well a person can speak, read, write, and understand language.
Some people may not be able to read, write, or express their thoughts in words. Or they may not understand written or spoken words.
The most common cause of aphasia is a stroke. A stroke can damage the left side of the brain. This is the side of the brain that handles language.
When a person has a problem speaking or writing, it's called non-fluent or expressive aphasia. When a person can't understand written or spoken words, it's called fluent or receptive aphasia.
Sometimes, other parts of the brain take over for the damaged parts. Many people get back some of their skills. But some people have lasting problems.
A speech-language pathologist can help some people relearn lost skills.
It's common to feel sad and hopeless when you have aphasia. It's important to let caregivers know about these feelings. It's also important to get treatment for depression if needed.
Support from family and friends can be helpful. They can help with daily tasks and treatment.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Aphasia Institute may offer local support groups. You can also find resources and information through your provincial ministry of health.
Here are some ways caregivers can help:
Communication problems can be very frustrating. Be patient, understanding, and supportive. Here are some tips:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Current as of: August 25, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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