Aphasia is a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems using language correctly.

People with aphasia make mistakeswith the words they use, sometimes using the wrong sounds in a word, choosing the wrong word, or putting words together incorrectly.

Aphasia also affects speaking and writing in the same way. Many people with the condition find it difficult to understandwords and sentences they hear or read.

Why does aphasia happen?

Aphasia is caused by damage to parts of the brain responsible for understanding and using language.

Common causes include:

  • Heat exhaustion and heatstroke thought to be the most common cause, around one in three people experience some degree of aphasia after having a stroke
  • severe head injury
  • brain tumour
  • progressive neurological conditions conditions that, over time, cause progressive brain and nervous system damage

This aims to help restore some of your ability to communicate, as well as help you develop alternative ways of communicating, if necessary.

You may receive speech and language therapy on an individual basis or in a group, depending on your needs and the service provided.

An increasing number of computer-based applications are available to support people with aphasia. However, it's important to start using these with the assistance ofa speech and language therapist.

How successful treatment is differs from person to person,but most people with aphasia make some degree of recovery, andsome recover fully. Even if aphasia persists, it does not meana person is unable to live an independent and meaningful life.

However,the chances of recoveryfor people with aphasia related to progressive neurological conditions is poor. This isbecause there is noway of repairing or preventing the ongoing injury to the brain.

When aphasia is caused by a progressive condition, treatment focuses on making the most of what people can still do and developing other ways of communicating to prepare for a time when speaking will be more difficult.

In some cases, it can lead to:

  • isolation
  • anxiety
  • depression

If you're concerned about someone with aphasia, encourage them to discuss any problemswith their GP or a member of their care team to access the relevant support.

If the person is unable to do this themselves, they may require someone tocommunicate on their behalf.

Who is affected?

Aphasia is one of the most common communicationdisorders to affect the brain. Although there are no official figures, the Stroke Association estimates more than 376,000 stroke survivors in the UK are living with aphasia.

Aphasia can affect people of all ages, including children. It's most common in people over the age of65, as stroke and common progressive neurological conditions tend to affect older adults.

Information about you

If you have aphasia, your clinical team will pass information about you on to the National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Diseases Registration Service (NCARDRS).

This helps scientists look for better ways to prevent and treat this condition. You can opt out of the register at any time.

Find out more about the register .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 30 Nov 2016