Wernicke ‘s aphasia is a serious language and word-finding disorder. Sick people suffer from extreme speech disorders and are only able to understand or reproduce the simplest words with great difficulty. Wernicke’s aphasics are only able to understand language content at all with intensive training and therapy by concentrating on facial expressions and language differences.
What is Wernicke aphasia?
Wernicke’s aphasia is one of the most profound language disorders that people can suffer from. Ironically, aphasia occurs only after language development is complete. Affected people may well have a certain vocabulary, but are not able to express themselves specifically and in a focused manner. For hyposalivation meanings, please visit whicheverhealth.com.
It is therefore possible that Wernicke’s aphasia completely or only partially disrupts language formation. Despite everything, aphasics are able to recognize facial expressions and to interpret the volume and intention of the tone of voice, for example when an angry person is screaming or someone is crying. The illness must be strictly differentiated from a psychological or intellectual disability.
The cause of this form of aphasia is usually permanent damage to the Wernicke speech center, a brain region in the upper temporal lobe of the person affected. In most cases, this is caused by a stroke or, more rarely, by an accident. Under these circumstances, the speech center is either directly damaged or not adequately supplied with blood and suffers permanent damage as a result of the acute lack of oxygen.
In the case of accidents, the affected area of the brain is often directly injured by a craniocerebral trauma, which can result from accidents in sports or traffic, and suffers permanent damage as a result. The rarer causes of Wernicke’s aphase can include a local brain tumor, insufficient supply to the brain or age-related dementia.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Aphasia can affect all areas of human communication. This includes language interpretation, language, and reading and writing. If the aphasia was caused as a result of direct damage to the brain area, the disorder in question occurs directly and almost immediately. Aphasia, which has its origins in dementia, occurs insidiously in relapses and continues to progress as the brain substance degenerates.
Dementia-related degradation of brain matter, which is associated with aphasia, is often accompanied by side symptoms such as changes in personality and personal habits, but also by memory and concentration disorders. Wernicke’s aphasia results in two basic symptoms.
On the one hand, Wernicke aphasics suffer from word- finding disorders, in which the structure and meaning of the words are greatly modified. So syllables and letters are omitted or added depending on the person. For example, a simple word like ball becomes all. As a result of these symptoms, known as paraphasia, it can also happen that the aphasic completely confuses the meaning of words.
This can happen even with words that don’t share a similar sound. On the other hand, not only individual word formation is affected, but the entire grammatical competence. Sentences formed by Wernicke aphasics often appear long and cryptic, subordinate clauses are connected incorrectly or there are duplications, making the complete sentence formation incomprehensible.
Diagnosis & course of disease
Since language plays a central role in our lives, identifying and diagnosing aphasia is relatively straightforward. If the first symptoms such as those already mentioned appear, the person concerned is checked by a neurologist on the basis of appropriate tests for Wernicke’s aphasia. So-called token tests have proven to be particularly effective.
The neurologist asks the patient to match several cards of different colors and sizes in pairs. In most cases, this first test determines whether an aphasic speech disorder is present. A speech disorder can only be determined more precisely with the AAT test (Aachen Aphasia Test).
This can also determine the degree of the disease and also serves in the long term as an instrument in therapy to identify whether therapeutic countermeasures are having an effect. If these tests are ordered as a result of direct damage to the brain, neurological tests, which look at the patient’s intelligence and personality, should also be done.
As a rule, those affected by Wernicke’s aphasia suffer from a very pronounced speech disorder. It is difficult for them to find the simplest words, so that the person concerned finds it very difficult to communicate with other people. The disease has a very negative effect on the patient’s everyday life and can lead to severe social problems and complications.
The development of children is also significantly restricted due to Wernicke’s aphasia, so that various complaints can also occur in adulthood. Children often suffer from concentration or memory problems. Different words are also confused, so that those affected sometimes suffer from panic attacks because they are ashamed of the disease. This can lead to bullying or teasing, especially in children, so that they develop depression or other mental health problems.
A direct and causal therapy of Wernicke’s aphasia is usually not possible. Those affected are dependent on various therapies that can alleviate the symptoms. However, a positive course of the disease cannot always be predicted. However, the patient’s life expectancy remains unaffected by Wernicke’s aphasia.
When should you go to the doctor?
Interpersonal communication disorders should always be discussed with a doctor. If language is difficult for children to learn or cannot be learned at all, contact with a doctor should be established. Adults, adolescents or children who have already learned to speak adequately also need medical help and support if their language skills are regressing. Clarification of the cause is necessary so that a diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan can be drawn up.
If there are problems finding words or if the articulation is characterized by irregularities, the person concerned should see a doctor. Discrepancies in memory activity, confused talk and a reduced ability to concentrate must also be examined and clarified. If adults show unusual personality changes, behavioral disorders or memory impairment, a doctor should be consulted.
If the affected person regularly confuses words with one another, this is to be understood as a warning signal from the organism. If subordinate clauses can no longer be linked correctly, this is to be interpreted as a further sign of an existing illness. If the formation of sentences is completely incomprehensible to people in the immediate vicinity, this fact should be discussed with the person concerned. He needs medical attention because this is a disease that requires treatment.
Treatment & Therapy
After appropriate diagnosis and determination of the degree of severity of the aphasia, linguistic therapy can be carried out with the support of neurologists and speech therapists. The earlier Wernicke’s aphasia is discovered, the better chance the patient has of improving his communication again. The primary goal of therapy is to renew the ability to speak.
In addition, the therapist must be able to convey the feeling that the patient is not alone with his drastic illness, but has positive prospects of recovery. In order to regain basic language skills, the therapist will fall back on familiar, simple word sequences. Saying the months, favorite objects, days of the week or family names are only a first step and quickly show success, which should also motivate the patient.
Since Wernicke’s aphasia often influences the formation of sentences, the therapist practices the correct grammar and meaningful arrangement of the words on the simplest sentences. Towards the end of the therapy, the aphasic is trained to apply the regained language skills to everyday communication. This section is usually performed in the controlled environment of group therapy with other aphasics and takes away the patient’s fear of having to speak to strangers in an unfamiliar situation.
It is simply impossible to completely prevent Wernicke’s aphasia. However, apart from accidents due to force majeure, it is possible to prevent risk factors such as strokes or sclerosis. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying physically and mentally active mean an enormous reduction in risk. Pay attention to key nutritional values such as blood sugar levels, your cholesterol level, blood lipid levels and your blood pressure. Avoid smoking regularly and work on possible obesity.
In most cases, the measures of direct aftercare for Wernicke’s aphasia are significantly limited and in some cases are not even available to the person concerned. Ideally, the person affected should consult a doctor at the first sign of this disease and also have treatment carried out in order to prevent the occurrence of further symptoms and complications.
As a rule, self-healing cannot occur in Wernicke’s aphasia, so that treatment by a doctor is necessary. As a rule, the person affected with this disease is dependent on the measures of physiotherapy and physiotherapy. Many of the exercises can also be repeated at home, which significantly accelerates the healing process. As a rule, taking various medications is also very important.
It is important to ensure that it is taken regularly and that the dosage is correct in order to counteract the symptoms in the long term. If you have any questions or side effects, you should always consult a doctor first. The further course of Wernicke’s aphasia is strongly dependent on the severity of the disease, so that a general prediction cannot be made. The life expectancy of those affected may also be reduced.
You can do that yourself
Wernicke’s aphasia primarily requires medical treatment. The stroke, which is usually the cause, must be clarified before therapy can begin. Which supportive measures make sense depends on the individual symptom picture.
Comprehensive speech and swallowing therapy is almost always necessary. The therapy can be supported at home by speaking regularly and carrying out suitable exercises. The patient needs a lot of support and attention in this phase of the disease. The stroke usually also leads to immobility, which can be compensated for, for example, by organizing an outpatient nursing service. In addition, it should be ensured that the patient takes the prescribed medication exactly according to the doctor’s instructions.
Identifying risk factors is also part of preventing another stroke. In general, a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise, little stress and a healthy diet must be maintained. The person concerned should always be informed about incorrectly formed sentences or words. Regular training is the most important measure to restore lost skills. Which self-help measures make sense in detail must be discussed with the responsible doctor.