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Communication disorder common among stroke survivors

Aphasia, a condition that affects anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of stroke survivors, impairs a patient’s ability to speak, read, write or understand others. But according to the National Aphasia Association, the condition does not affect intelligence.

Aphasia affects about one million Americans, amounting to one in 25 people. That makes it more common than better-known conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

Although the condition can result from head injury, brain tumors or other neurological causes, the most common cause of aphasia is stroke.

If the symptoms of aphasia last longer than two or three months after a stroke, a complete recovery is unlikely. But some people continue to improve over a period of years and even decades. And patients with the condition can acquire compensatory means of coping.

The Association provides the following tips for communicating with people who have aphasia:

  • Give the person with aphasia time to speak and do not finish the person’s sentences unless asked.
  • Be sensitive to background noise and turn off competing sounds such as radios or TVs where possible.
  • Be open to means of communicating other than speech, such as drawing or gesturing.
  • Confirm that you are communicating successfully.

Strokes are frequently caused by blood clots breaking off and traveling to the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for blood clots include a family history of clots, long periods of immobility, pregnancy and use of birth control pills.

While most birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots, numerous studies indicate that pills containing the compound drospirenone carry up to three times the risk compared to other oral contraceptives on the market. Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

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