Wendy Williams, the US media personality, recently revealed that she was diagnosed with aphasia.


It was revealed that she was diagnosed in 2023 and currently undergoing medical treatment.

Aphasia is relatively unknown despite affecting millions of people, particularly people in middle to old age.

According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia affects about 2 million people in the United States.


What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder that impairs a person’s verbal communication, written communication, or both.

It is caused by damage or disruption to specific areas of the brain that control language, expression and comprehension.


There are several types of aphasia which are dependent on the location and extent of the damage in the brain.

According to the National Aphasia Association, there are six types of aphasia which include:

  • Global aphasia

This type of aphasia is the most severe form. It is caused by injuries to multiple parts of the brain that are responsible for understanding spoken language, accessing vocabulary, using grammar, and producing words and sentences.

Patients with global aphasia can only produce a few recognizable words and understand very little or no spoken language.

  • Broca’s aphasia

This type of aphasia is also known as non-fluent or expressive aphasia. It is also one of the most common forms of aphasia.

Broca’s aphasia involves damage to the left frontal area of the brain which causes patient to partially lose their language ability. There is also difficulty in speaking fluently and their speech may be limited to a few words at a time.

However, there is still the ability to understand speech well and maintain the ability to read.

  • Mixed non-fluent aphasia

Patients with this type of aphasia have limited speech, similar to patients with Broca’s aphasia.


However, there are limitations in comprehension of speech and one can not read or write beyond an elementary level.

  • Wernicke’s aphasia

Wernicke’s aphasia is also referred to as fluent aphasia or receptive aphasia.

Patients with this type of aphasia have an impaired ability to comprehend spoken words but do not have difficulty producing connected speech.

However, what they say may not make a lot of sense or use irrelevant words in their sentences. With Wernicke’s aphasia, there is also an impaired ability to read and write.

  • Anomic aphasia

Anomic aphasia is one of the milder forms of aphasia. Patients with anomic aphasia understand speech well and can repeat words and sentences. In most cases, they can read adequately but there is difficulty finding words when they want to talk or write.

  • Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)

PPA is a neurological syndrome in which language capabilities become slowly and progressively impaired.

PPA results from the deterioration of brain tissue important for speech and language. It commonly begins as a subtle disorder of language, progressing to a nearly total inability to speak, in its most severe stage.

This type of aphasia is eventually accompanied by other symptoms of dementia or memory loss.

What causes aphasia?

Aphasia is majorly caused by damage to one or more of the language areas of the brain. However, any problems that disrupt your brain’s functions can also cause it.

These problems include:

  • Stroke: According to a study, aphasia occurs in 25 to 40 percent of people who have had a stroke.
  • Head injury
  • Brain tumour
  • Infection
  • Dementia

What are the symptoms of aphasia?

Symptoms of aphasia can vary from mild to severe. They depend on where the damage occurs in the brain and the severity of that damage.

The symptoms include:

  • Trouble speaking, reading or writing
  • Struggling with finding the right term or word
  • Using strange or wrong words in conversation
  • Difficulty understanding other people’s speech
  • Writing sentences that don’t make sense or trouble expressing yourself in writing
  • Speaking in short, incomplete sentences or phrases
  • Using words in the wrong orders

Can aphasia be treated?

There is no direct cure for aphasia. However, it is treatable and is based on age, cause and extent of condition.

The goal of treatment is to improve communication ability which can be done through:

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Nonverbal communication therapies
  • Group therapy for patients and their families
  • Surgery: This is done when it is a brain tumour affecting the language centre of the brain.

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