What is aphasia?
Every year in the United States, more than 795,000 people suffer a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The effects of a stroke can be debilitating and life-changing. One such communication effect is called Aphasia.
Aphasia is a neurological disorder – most often caused by a stroke – which affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write, recall the names of objects and even understand conversations. But it’s important to note it doesn’t affect overall intelligence. It can be either temporary or permanent.
June is National Aphasia Awareness Month, a time to raise public awareness of the disorder.
The condition affects every person differently. The National Aphasia Association notes that one study found that compared to 75 other health conditions and diseases, aphasia had the most negative effect on individuals’ quality of life, more than cancer or Alzheimer’s. It directly impacts communication, making it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for people to express their thoughts and needs with families and doctors.
The best way to prevent aphasia is to reduce your risk of stroke. Risk factors include hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
“All modifying risk factors need to be lowered,” says Dinene Jenkins-West, a stroke coordinator at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. Maintaining “a healthy lifestyle and eating well while avoiding obesity is key.”
Jenkins-West says that a TIA (transient ischemic attack), also referred to as a mini-stroke, can have a significant impact on future health.
“If you have a mini-stroke, you are always at risk for having a stroke,” says Jenkins-West. “Forty percent of individuals who have a mini-stroke have a major stroke, and 10 percent of cases occur within days.”
Medical officials strongly emphasize leading a healthy lifestyle to avoid any type of stroke. A few tips for living a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk include exercising regularly, eating fruits and vegetables, portion-size control and being aware of important health numbers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol.
Treatments for Aphasia vary based on the severity of impairment, but two general types of therapies that many doctors use are impairment-based therapies and communication-based therapies.
To learn more about strokes and the resources at Advocate Health Care, visit http://www.advocatehealth.com/stroke.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.