The Causes And Symptoms Of Dysarthria

Dysarthria can affect patients physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally. Each person will experience it a little differently. That is why a unique treatment plan for each case is important.
The Causes and Symptoms of Dysarthria

The language is part of our daily lives. It allows you to communicate your needs to others. Can you imagine not being able to pronounce words? However, for people who suffer from dysarthria, this is the reality. In this article, we’ll discuss the common symptoms of dysarthria, its causes, and treatments.

What is it and what are the symptoms of dysarthria?

This disorder is a neurological change that affects communication and swallowing. People with dysarthria are therefore unable to structure or pronounce words correctly. They also have trouble swallowing food.

The muscles that control these mechanisms are damaged. This is a result of a lack of muscle tone and control and of coordination problems. These are some common symptoms of dysarthria:

  • Difficulty moving the lips, jaws and tongue.
  • Difficulty controlling voice tone.
  • Breathing problems (for example, breathing with interruptions).
  • Problems pronouncing words.
  • Very loose or stiff muscles.
  • Excessive production of saliva.
  • Complicated speaking.
  • Speak slowly.
  • A tense, nasal or hoarse voice.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
The Symptoms of Dysarthria

These symptoms of dysarthria also have an effect on the social life of the patients. This can also lead to psychological problems. People with dysarthria may also eventually suffer from clinical depression.

There are different types of dysarthria:

  • Flaccid dysarthria. This form is characterized by problems with tone and with the movements of the phonetic muscle.
  • Cerebral dysarthria. This is on the spectrum of ataxia disorders. The cause of this form of dysarthria is a brain disorder. As a result, the coordination of the movement is interrupted in the patients. As a result, they also have problems with the rhythm pattern and with the smoothness of voluntary speech.
  • Mixed dysarthria. This is the most complex form of dysarthria. In this case, the speech disorder is the result of different features in the motor systems involved.
  • Extrapyramidal dysarthria.

There is also spastic dysarthria. This type has to do with the upper motor nerve cells. It then causes weakness and muscle cramps on one side of the body.

The causes of dysarthria

So people with dysarthria have a kind of brain injury. It is precisely this injury that indeed causes the symptoms. As a result, they have a hard time uttering sounds and words.

These are some causes of dysarthria:

  • Medication. Examples are tranquilizers or narcotics.
  • Accidents. Head trauma can also cause dysarthria.
  • brain tumors.
  • Neurodegenerative disorders. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, MS (multiple sclerosis), and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) are some examples.
  • Encephalitis. Inflammation can cause this condition. So it is in fact an inflammation of the brain.

Inflammations of the central nervous system can also lead to dysarthria. This also applies to manganese poisoning, atherosclerosis and idiopathic (unknown cause) deterioration.

The treatment for the symptoms of dysarthria

The treatment of dysarthria depends on the patient’s symptoms. These are some of the most commonly used treatments:

  • swallowing therapy. This treatment involves stimulation of the lips, tongue and throat. The goal is to increase mobility and improve the problem. Therapists use techniques that affect tongue movement and facial expression.
  • Oral rehabilitation. This depends on each patient, on their environment, on the type of therapeutic intervention and on the therapist. Actually, it is a series of exercises that involve the active participation of the patient. They also stimulate the joints to improve mobility and coordination.
  • Working on the attitude. The patient learns how to stand and move correctly. That way they can still get the sounds out in the right way. Good posture helps with articulation, breathing and swallowing.
  • Diet adjustment. This involves introducing food with different consistencies to reduce the risk of choking. Scientists sometimes state that all foods can cause problems. However, the most important thing is to observe the patient and adapt the therapy to their needs.
  • Intervening in the articulation. This is a series of techniques to strengthen and improve the coordination of the jaws, tongue and lips. The patients work on movements related to elongation, bringing forward, sideways and rotation, among other things.
The treatment of dysarthria

An interdisciplinary approach

The treatment of dysarthria requires an interdisciplinary approach. Thus, the patients need the help of doctors, speech therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.

Of all these care providers, the work of the speech therapist is perhaps the most important. We would also like to mention here the study entitled “The Role of the Speech and Language Therapist in Managing Dysarthria and Dysphagia in Parkinson’s Disease.”

In this study, the researchers came to the following conclusion. The intervention of speech therapists helped to enhance the intelligibility of speech in patients with Parkinson’s.

In conclusion, we can therefore state that this condition affects the quality of life of patients. It is therefore extremely important that we are aware of the symptoms of the patients. That is why we need to have an appropriate treatment plan that is additionally under the guidance of an expert.

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