A brain disorder called aphasia has forced Bruce Willis into the sidelines of his acting career. Famous for his movies Die Hard, The Expendables, Armageddon, and The Sixth Sense, Willis had always appeared to have such a strong and impregnable physique. Now that he’s diagnosed with aphasia, several viewers seek to understand the brain condition. What is aphasia, exactly, and what causes and symptoms should we look out for?
There’s never a good day to die hard
What is aphasia? Symptoms and causes
Aphasia is a devastating brain disorder that impairs a person’s communication. People suffering from this condition face difficulties in writing, speaking, and comprehension. The degree of deterioration differs from one patient to another based on the extent of brain damage.
The most common culprit for aphasia is stroke. Traumatic brain injury, brain tumours, and degenerative brain diseases such as dementia are also possible causes. Fortunately, the recovery stage for most patients is usually quick. Even without treatment, most people could recuperate in a matter of hours or days. However, permanent impairment is also a possibility, and some patients may need medical interventions.
Vulnerable, but not expendable
Who can acquire aphasia?
Aphasia can happen to anyone, but middle-aged or older people are more at risk for the disease. At this point, you might be wondering who else has experienced it. In fact, Bruce Willis isn’t the only notable individual diagnosed with aphasia.
You may know Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones. After shooting the first season of the series, the renowned actress experienced two aneurysms, the first leaving her with aphasia; fortunately, she recovered.
In 2001, Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct suffered a stroke that left her speechless for two years. Meanwhile, former US Congresswoman Gabby Giffords still bears the remnants of her aphasia after surviving a gunshot wound to the head in an assassination attempt in 2011.
Filipinos aren’t exempted from Aphasia either. Former UP President Noel Soriano, retired Nestle executive Manuel Asensio, and former PBA Player Jun Celis are only a few of our kababayans who were diagnosed with this brain condition.
Ways to avoid this armageddon
Some things in life are inevitable — ageing, calamities, and accidents included. Nonetheless, it’s best that we manage what we can control. Harvard Medical School shares 12 pointers to follow for maintaining a healthy brain.
- Have a regular mental stimulation
- Maintain a routine of physical exercise
- Eat healthy and nutritional food
- Improve blood pressure
- Maintain a normal sugar level
- Avoid bad cholesterol
- Aim for low dosages of aspirin
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink alcohol excessively
- Take care of your heart
- Protect your head from trauma
- Maintain a healthy social life
Aphasia isn’t just a sign of old age or a side-effect of dementia. As a matter of fact, the brain condition is considered common — but ironically, it’s unfamiliar to most. This is why it’s important to raise our awareness of this disorder. If you know someone diagnosed with aphasia, take this time to reach out to them and show them that you care.
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr