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A motor speech disease known as dysarthria is characterised by weakening or paralysis of the muscles that create speech because of nervous system dysfunction. People can slur their words because of the injury making it difficult for them to control their tongue or voice box. Speech therapy can improve their communication skills.

What is Dysarthria?


A motor speech impairment called dysarthria (speak "dis-AR-three-uh") makes it challenging to create and pronounce words. When the nerve system is damaged, people may experience motor speech disorders that make it difficult for them to properly control their tongue, voice box (larynx), and jaw, among other speech-related body parts. It's difficult to speak in a way that other people can understand if the person have dysarthria.

Dysarthria may be inherited or develop over time

  • Brain injury that occurs either during foetal development or at birth causes developmental dysarthria. For instance, dysarthria can result from cerebral palsy. Dysarthria that is still developing is common in children.
  • Later in life, brain injury might result in acquired dysarthria. Dysarthria, for instance, can result from a stroke, brain tumour, or Parkinson's disease. Adults frequently develop dysarthria.
  • Dysarthria patients comprehend words. They are confident in both their message and their delivery. It's only that speaking is challenging due to muscle weakness.
  • What are the Types of Dysarthria?

    Dysarthria might fall into one of six categories. They are arranged according to the particular area of the neurological system that is impacted. Damage to central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, as well as the peripheral nervous system, which is made up of the network of nerves that carries messages throughout your body, may cause dysarthria.

    • Flaccid dysarthria: Damage to the lower motor neurons is the cause of it. Peripheral nervous system includes lower motor neurons. It may sound breathy and nasal when speaking if a person has flaccid dysarthria.
    • Spastic dysarthria: It happens when the top neurons on one or both sides of the brain are damaged. The central nervous system includes the higher neurons. The voice may come off as strained or harsh.
    • Ataxic dysarthria: It comes from damage to the cerebellum, a region of the brain. The cerebellum aids in the coordination of muscle motion. Vowels and consonants may be difficult for the person to pronounce, and he/she may find it challenging to emphasise the appropriate portions of words when speaking.
    • Hypokinetic dysarthria: It comes from harm to the basal ganglia, a region of the brain. The brain has a component called the basal ganglia that aids in controlling the muscles. Speech that is sluggish ("hypo"), monotonous, and rigid sounding is a symptom of hypokinetic dysarthria.
    • Hyperkinetic dysarthria: The basal ganglia are also the cause of it. It's linked to quick-sounding ("hyper") and frequently erratic speech.
    • Mixed dysarthria: It combines at least two of the other five classifications. It is the most prevalent variety of dysarthria.

    How Common is Dysarthria?

    Neurological conditions, like:

    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): Dysarthria may afflict as much as 30% of people with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).
    • Multiple sclerosis (MS): From 25% to 50% of MS patients eventually develop dysarthria.
    • Parkinson's illness: Dysarthria affects 70% to 100% of those with Parkinson's disease.
    • Stroke: 8% to 60% of stroke survivors experience dysarthria.
    • Traumatic brain injury: 10% to 65% of people who experience traumatic brain injuries develop dysarthria.

    What are the Symptoms of Dysarthria?

    The main symptom of dysarthria is the inability to talk in a way that other people can understand. It could be difficult for the person to move your lips, tongue, or jaw in a way that produces coherent speech.

    Dysarthria signs and symptoms include:

    • When speaking, person can mumble or slur their words.
    • Speaking more quickly or more slowly than intended.
    • Louder or quieter speech than preferred.
    • Sounding robotic, gruff, strained, breathy, hoarse, monotone, or any of the these.
    • Speaking in snippets rather than complete sentences, with lots of gaps in between.
    • A loss of muscle control may also contribute to dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

    What causes Dysarthria?

    Dysarthria happens when the parts of nervous system that control the vocal cords are injured. Included in this are the muscles of the face, throat, and respiration. Accidents, illnesses, and neuromuscular conditions can all result in dysarthria.

    The following are typical causes:

    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig's illness)
    • Brain cancer
    • The cerebral palsy
    • Alzheimer's
    • Huntington's condition
    • Lyme illness
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Dystrophy of the muscles
    • Grave Myasthenia
    • Parkinson's condition
    • The stroke
    • Brain trauma
    • A mouth or face injury.
    • An injury to your tongue, voice box, neck, or head.

    Some drugs, including sedatives and anti-seizure drugs, can produce symptoms resembling dysarthria.

    What causes Dysarthria?

    Speech issues can make social interactions challenging. Stress at work, school, and in the relationships in general might result from not being able to communicate and be understood. Depression and other mental health problems may result from the stress.

    It's crucial to receive treatments that can assist in communicating and upholding meaningful relationships with people.

    How is Dysarthria Diagnosed?

    Healthcare professional will do a physical examination and inquire about the medical history. They could have an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to find out how bad your dysarthria is. The ability to control the breathing, voice, and voice quality will be evaluated. Additionally, they will assess how well people can move their lips, tongue, and face.

    What Tests might I need to Diagnose Dysarthria?

    • MRI or CT scans of the head, neck, and brain to look for any anomalies that could influence the speech.
    • Electroencephalogram (EEG) to look the dysarthria-related anomalies in the brain activity.
    • Electromyography, which examines how electrically-charged the muscles and nerves are.
    • Blood or urine testing to determine whether an inflammation or infection is the source of speech problems.
    • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to determine whether a tumour or infection is the source of the dysarthria.

    A modified barium swallow study or a videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) may be carried out by the healthcare provider to check for swallowing issues, which can occasionally accompany dysarthria.

    How is Dysarthria Treated?

    Speech therapy is frequently helpful for people with dysarthria to enhance communication. In order to improve communication with the family and friends, a speech-language pathologist can also work with them.

    People with dysarthria might pick up the following skills during speech therapy sessions:

    • Jaw, tongue, and lip strengthening exercises.
    • Techniques for speaking louder, such exhaling more deeply before speaking.
    • Techniques for speaking more clearly, such as speaking more slowly and consciously engaging particular muscles to produce sounds and phrases.
    • Nonverbal communication strategies, such as writing or gesticulation.

    They might require a gadget to communicate with people if their dysarthria is severe. Among these tools are a message or bulletin board, a dedicated computer with a keyboard, and a message display.

    Could Dysarthria be Avoided?

    Although some causes of dysarthria, such as trauma or stroke, are not preventable, people can take precautions to lower the risk of developing them. For instance, maintaining a nutritious diet can lower the risk of developing illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, which all raise the risk of having a stroke.

    Can Dysarthria ever be Cured?

    Depending on the root cause of the dysarthria. Discontinuing the medication frequently cures dysarthria if it is an adverse effect. It's possible that dysarthria brought on by a chronic (long-term) neuromuscular disorder, a stroke, or trauma won't go away. Nevertheless, speech therapy can help you communicate more effectively.

    Speech therapy can provide with the skills to communicate nonverbally as well as improve the ability to use the speaking muscles.

    A Note from Doctor

    If the person have dysarthria and find it difficult to be understood when he/she speak, discuss the concerns with the healthcare physician. To improve the communication, doctor may advise speech therapy. Even though speaking may be challenging due to muscle weakness, treatments might help them to retain crucial relationships.

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