Actor and musician Bruce Willis is best known for playing the wisecracking, hardened hero in some of America’s most beloved action films. Unfortunately, it appears his time in the spotlight has come to an end due to a medical condition that causes cognitive impairment.
In an Instagram post, his daughter, Rumor, stated “our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.” Conway Medical Center wants to help you understand aphasia, what causes it, and what you can do if you suspect it in yourself or a family member.
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is a neurologic condition that is caused by damage to the left side of the brain that controls expression and comprehension. The condition can rob a person of their ability to speak, write, and verbalize the thoughts they want to express. The onslaught of aphasia typically occurs after a stroke or a head injury, but it is also linked to disorders like dementia.
There are many symptoms of aphasia, however, they can manifest in different ways and each person can have their own strengths and weaknesses. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs of aphasia are:
- Shortened or incomplete sentences
- Sentences that don’t make sense
- Substituting one word for another
- Substituting one sound for another
- Unrecognizable words
- Inability to understand others’ conversations
- Writing that doesn’t make sense
Aphasia can be very frustrating to those suffering from it because they can have difficulty expressing themselves. Some may have a hard time understanding or keeping up during conversations. Many describe feeling isolated because they feel as if they are speaking their own language and others have difficulty understanding them.
What should I do if I think I have aphasia?
If you or your family has recognized some of the symptoms of aphasia in you, your first step would be to set an appointment for a check-up and physical with your primary care provider. From there, your physician may refer you to a neurologist for more specialized treatment and additional testing.
Don’t have a PCP? Call 843-347-8000 and one of our team members can help you set an appointment at one of Conway Medical Center’s many primary care locations.
Once it is determined that you have aphasia and what caused the onslaught of the condition, the main treatment is speech therapy. You will work closely with an occupational therapist that will help you practice and relearn language skills and learn how to use other ways to communicate.
If a person has suffered a more traumatic stroke or brain injury, acute rehab may be necessary before they transition home from the hospital. In an inpatient acute rehab, patients are given a focused treatment plan using various techniques, therapies, and assistive technologies to help them regain function and restore their quality of life.