Welcome, Medicare Nation! Can you believe the month of June is here? The year is rolling right along, and you may not be aware that June is Aphasia Awareness Month. If you’re not familiar with aphasia, you should know that it’s an acquired disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak and to process language, but it does not affect intelligence. Let’s learn more about this disorder.
Here are a few basic facts about aphasia:
- Often, aphasia is the result of brain injury, brain tumor, neurological disease, or stroke. (25-40% of stroke survivors will have aphasia.)
- About 2 million Americans are affected by aphasia, with 180,000 acquiring it yearly.
- Aphasia can affect any age, race, ethnicity, and gender. Those over age 60 have the highest aphasia rates, with those over age 40 being the second highest. The rate of occurrence is the same for all other age groups.
- Aphasia can’t be cured but can be treated and improved with speech and occupational therapy, and these are covered by Medicare, depending on the plan.
- Some helpful therapies can be done via an app or on a computer. Many of these costs can be reimbursed, depending on your Medicare plan.
- Aphasia is self-diagnosable because the signs are noticeable, and may include social isolation, repeated actions/words, and jumbled/slurred speech.
There are several types of aphasia:
- Global aphasia is the most severe form. It leaves the person unable to speak more than a few words and they can’t understand spoken words or read.
- Broca’s aphasia has characteristics of reduced speech output, limited vocabulary, but the person can understand language and read.
- Mixed Non-fluent aphasia makes it hard to speak and limits comprehension. The person cannot read or write beyond the elementary school level.
- Wernicke’s aphasia leaves the person fluent, where they can grasp the overall meaning of a sentence, but may not comprehend individual word meanings.
- Primary progressive aphasia is a rare neurological syndrome in which brain tissue degenerates.
To find out more about aphasia, visit the website for the National Aphasia Association: www.aphasia.org. You may contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook: Aphasia Recovery Connect.
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