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Dysarthria

The dysarthria is a speech disorder that affects a high percentage of patients with multiple sclerosis, but may also be due to other causes. The main signs are the imprecise articulation of words, low tone of voice and slow rhythm.

The direct cause of this disease is weakness or incoordination of the muscles used to speak . People with dysarthria have great difficulty reproducing both sounds and words.

Depending on what caused the dysarthria, it can develop slowly and progressively, or appear suddenly.

Dysarthria: definition

Dysarthria is a disease characterized by difficulty in controlling the muscles responsible for speech. Thus, those who suffer from this disorder have stammering or an excessively slow pace when speaking. For those around you it can sometimes be difficult to understand them.

There are three types of dysarthria depending on its severity.

  • Mild: those with mild dysarthria are generally able to speak adequately, although with impaired speech speed and / or intensity.
  • Moderate: in this case, people tend to have a somewhat difficult articulation, so that speech is sometimes unintelligible.
  • Severe: regarding severe dysarthria, the people around you are unable to understand what the patient is saying.

Types of dysarthria

The types of dysarthria that exist differ between them by the area in which the lesion is located.

  • Spastic: it is known as such a disorder that arises as a result of an injury to the pyramidal tracts, affecting both the muscles of the neck and the face. In this case the vocalization is very tense and forced.
  • Ataxic: this type of disease is due to lesions in the cerebellum. The most frequently repeated signs are slow, uncoordinated, and monotonous vocalization.
  • Hypokinetics: This type of dysarthria occurs due to Parkinson’s disease . The tone of voice is very low and the rhythm excessively monotonous.
  • Flaccid: in this case the affected area is the vagus nerve, responsible for the movement of the vocal cords. It is common for the muscles to atrophy over time, thus causing spasms and drooling.
  • Hyperkinetics: it is produced by a lesion in the basal ganglia. The most common symptoms are a harsh voice and hypernasality.

Infantile dysarthria

The child dysarthria is known as a neurological disorder that affects speech in children. Children with this disease have shortness of breath and make both sounds and words with little air.

It is important that treatment begins as soon as possible. When children learn to control their speech sooner, the prognosis will improve significantly both in the short, medium and long term.

Causes of dysarthria

The causes of dysarthria are very broad. There are numerous disorders that can cause this disease.

Brain tumor

The brain tumor is characterized by the growth of disease a group of abnormal cells in this organ. Certain types of tumors are benign, while others are malignant, also called cancerous.

The symptoms of this disorder vary remarkably from one patient to another. The most common are: frequent and intense headaches, nausea, vision problems, dysarthria and changes in personality.

Huntington’s disease

The Huntington ‘s disease is an inherited disorder characterized by wear of certain nerve cells in the brain. Those who suffer from this disease are born with a defective gene, although the first symptoms do not appear until adulthood. They usually appear for the first time at age thirty or forty.

The most common signs are: incoordination, balance problems, and dysarthria . In the most serious cases, people are unable to recognize the people around them.

Multiple sclerosis

The MS is a chronic disease affecting the nervous system center. It is one of the most widespread neurological disorders globally. It is estimated that around 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis.

The symptoms are very broad and can affect the entire body: fatigue, lack of balance , visual disturbances, speech difficulties, etc.

Parkinson’s disease

The Parkinson ‘s disease is defined as a type of disorder that affects movement. It occurs when neurons are unable to produce enough dopamine . The symptoms of this disorder begin to manifest gradually, generally affecting only one side of the body and subsequently both.

One of the most common signs is tremor in the hands , which spreads to the arms, legs, and even face over time. People with Parkinson’s disease also experience stiff limbs, as well as problems with balance, slurred speech, and slowness of movement.

Wilson’s disease

The Wilson ‘s disease is a rare inherited disorder. Its main characteristic is that the body accumulates more copper than is necessary for its function, which affects both the brain and the kidneys and eyes.

Stroke

Dysarthria can also occur from a stroke, also called a cerebrovascular accident . It occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood due to a blocked artery or a ruptured blood vessel.

One of the most common signs is loss of sensation on one side of the face . That is why those who suffer a stroke are not able to smile. Disruption of blood flow to the brain can also cause speech difficulties.

Symptoms

Dysarthria is a relatively simple disease to diagnose since it gives rise to a series of very specific symptoms. The main indication is babbling when speaking , as well as a very slow and monotonous rhythm. Also, those with this disorder are unable to speak out loud. Usually his tone of voice is little more than a whisper. However, the voice is not soft, but rather strained and harsh.

They are symptoms that respond to difficulty in moving the tongue and / or facial muscles . In the presence of any sign of this type, especially if it occurs suddenly, it is important to consult a doctor since dysarthria can be the sign of a serious disease.

How is it diagnosed?

Once the symptoms indicated in the previous section appear, it is important to go to the doctor as soon as possible so that he can establish the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

First, a medical history of the patient will be made, taking into account the signs and their health. Next, the most common is that they request a blood test and a laryngoscopy.

Imaging tests of the brain, head, and neck are sometimes necessary to determine the cause of dysarthria.

If the doctor suspects a brain tumor, he or she may perform a biopsy, removing a small sample of tissue from the brain for further analysis.

Treatment of dysarthria

Generally, the treatment of dysarthria as such is carried out by a speech therapist . The procedure to follow depends largely on what the cause is, as well as the type and severity of the symptoms.

One of the main goals of treatment is to help the person speak more slowly so that the people around them can better understand them. The speech therapist also performs various exercises to improve respiratory functions in order to raise the tone of the voice.

During the sessions, activities are also carried out to improve the movement of the mouth, tongue and lips. Sometimes the treatment also includes family and friends, explaining strategies to achieve better communication.

Communicate with a person with dysarthria

Taking into account that this is a disease that affects speech, it can sometimes be difficult to communicate with the person who suffers from it.

Well, the person with dysarthria should take a series of tips into account to improve communication with the people around them. It is best if you try to make sentences as simple as possible. When it comes to speaking, you should speak loudly and slowly, taking frequent pauses. If at any time you feel frustrated that you cannot put into words what you want to say, you can use other methods: drawing, writing, gesturing, etc.

As for the listener, there are also several guidelines to remember when having a conversation with a person with dysarthria. It is important to reduce both distractions and background noise, thus paying attention only to the speaker. If at any time you have difficulty understanding him, you should let him know. If you do not understand the message, it is best to ask questions that the speaker can only answer with yes or no.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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