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Dysarthria (say "dis-AR-three-uh") is a disorder that makes it hard to speak well. People who have it understand language. They know what they want to say. And they usually don't have trouble reading and writing. But when they talk, their speech is often slurred and hard to understand.
Dysarthria can be caused by an injury to the brain or a disease of the nervous system. Examples include a stroke, Parkinson's disease, myasthenia gravis, or a head injury. These conditions can affect the nerves that control the lips, jaw, tongue, and soft palate.
If you have dysarthria, you and your family may feel frustrated and anxious. But speech therapy can help improve your speech so that others can understand you better.
The symptoms of dysarthria depend on what caused it. People with dysarthria may:
Your doctor will do a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history. The doctor may refer you to a speech-language pathologist (SLP).
Your doctor or SLP may suggest other tests to:
The SLP will also listen to you talk. They will watch how you say sounds and combinations of sounds. The SLP will also listen to how you pause between phrases, how you put stress on parts of words, and how loudly you speak.
If a treatable medical condition is causing your speech problem, your doctor will likely start by treating that condition. This may also improve your speech.
If your speech problem can't be solved by treating a medical condition, then there are things your doctor or speech-language pathologist can do to help improve your speech. They may give you:
Your health care team will help you decide on the best treatment.
Speech disorders can make it frustrating to talk with others. But there are some things you can do to make it easier.
Your family and friends can help you communicate better. Share these simple tips with them. Encourage them to:
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.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: December 13, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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