What Is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria or Dysatria is a disorder of the nervous system that affects the muscles that function to speak. This causes speech problems in the sufferer. Disartria doesn't affect the intelligence or level of understanding of the sufferer, but it still does not rule out the possibility that the sufferer of this condition has a disorder in both cases.

Symptoms of Dysarthria

Some of the symptoms commonly felt by people with dysarthria are:
  • Hoarseness or nasal sounds
  • Monotonous tone of voice
  • Unusual rhythm of speech
  • Talk too fast or speak slowly
  • Unable to speak at a loud volume, or even speak in a volume too slowly.
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty moving the tongue or facial muscles
  • Difficulty swallowing ( dysphagia ), which can cause saliva to come out uncontrollably

Causes of Disartria
People with dysarthria have difficulty controlling their speech muscles, because the parts of the brain and nerves that control the movement of these muscles do not function normally. Some medical conditions that can cause the disorder are:
  • Head injury
  • Brain infection
  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Huntington's disease
  • Wilson's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Muscle dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crippled palsy
  • Bell's palsy
  • Injury to the tongue
  • Drug abuse.
In general, based on the location of damage that causes dysarthria, this condition can be divided into several types, namely:
  • Spastic Dysartria. This is the most common type of dysarthria. Spastic dysarthria is caused by damage to the cerebrum. Most often, the damage is caused by a severe head injury .
  • Ataxic Dysarthria. Ataxial dysarthria arises in a person due to the presence of the cerebellum, such as inflammation, which regulates speech.
  • Hypokinetic Dysarthria. Hypokinetic dysarthria results from damage in one part of the brain implanted by the basal ganglia. One example of a disease that causes hypokinetic dysarthria is Parkinson's disease .
  • Diskinetic and dystonic dysarthria. This dysarthria arises due to abnormalities in muscle cells that play a role in speaking ability. Examples of this type of dysarthria are Huntington's disease .
  • Disartria flaxid. Flaxid dysarthria results from damage to the brain stem or peripheral nerve. This dysarthria appears in people with Lou Gehrig's disease or tumors in the peripheral nerves. In addition, people with myasthenia gravis can also experience flaxid dysarthria.
  • Mixed Dysarthria. This is a condition when a person suffers from several types of dysarthria at the same time. Mixed dysarthria can occur due to widespread damage to nerve tissue, such as severe head injury, encephalitis , or stroke.
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Diagnosis of Dysarthria
The doctor identifies the symptoms and clinical signs experienced by the patient as the first step in the diagnosis.

The doctor will evaluate the speaking ability and determine the type of dysarthria, by checking the strength of the lip muscles, tongue, and jaw when the patient is talking. Patients will be asked to do several activities, such as:
  • Blowing the candle
  • Count numbers
  • Make a variety of sounds
  • Sing
  • Sticking her tongue out
  • Read writing.
The doctor will also do a neuropsychological examination, which is an examination that will measure thinking ability, as well as understanding of words, reading, and writing.

Furthermore, several examinations that are usually performed by a doctor to find out the cause of dysarthria are:
  • Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans, to get detailed images of the patient's brain, head and neck. This helps doctors identify the patient's speech disorders.
  • Urine and blood tests, to identify infection or inflammation.
  • Lumbar puncture. The doctor will take brain fluid samples for further investigation in the laboratory.
  • Brain biopsy. This method will be done if there is a tumor in the brain. The doctor will take samples of the patient's brain tissue to be seen under a microscope.

Treatment of Dysarthria
Treatment that will be undertaken by patients with dysarthria is distinguished based on several factors, namely the cause, the severity of symptoms, and the type of dysarthria suffered.

The focus of treatment for dysarthria is to overcome the cause, for example if it is caused by a tumor, the patient will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, according to the doctor's instructions.

Patients with dysarthria can undergo therapy to improve speech, so they can communicate better. The therapy undertaken by the patient will be adjusted to the type and severity of dysarthria, such as:
  • Therapy to slow speech
  • Therapy to speak louder
  • Therapy to speak in clearer words and sentences
  • Therapy to train the mouth muscles stronger
  • Therapy for smoothing the movements of the tongue and lips
In addition to improving speaking skills, other alternatives to improve communication, patients can be trained to use sign language.

To help with communication, some things that patients with dysarthria can do, include:
  • Say one topic before explaining the whole sentence so that the person you are talking to knows what topic is being discussed.
  • Don't talk too much when you're tired, because a tired body will make conversation difficult to understand.
  • Ask the other person to make sure that the other person really understands what you are saying.
  • Speak slower and have pauses, so the conversation becomes clear.
  • Helps talk with pointing objects, drawing, or writing.

Complications of Dysarthria
Patients with dysarthria can experience impaired quality of life due to suffering from this condition, such as experiencing personality changes, disorders in social interaction, and emotional disturbances due to the difficulty of communicating with others. In addition, communication disorders can cause patients with dysarthria to feel isolated and tend to get a bad stigma in their surrounding environment.

This is no exception for children. Communication difficulties in children can cause children to experience frustration, as well as changes in emotions and behavior. Education and character development of children can be affected due to these things, so that the social interaction of children can experience obstacles, especially when children develop into adults.

To avoid this, patients with dysarthria, both adults and children, need support from their family and closest people to maintain the quality of life and communicate with the surrounding environment properly.

Prevention of Dysarthria
Although the causes of dysarthria are quite diverse, several types of causes of dysarthria can be prevented by healthy habits and lifestyle, such as:
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Not taking drugs without a prescription from a doctor
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Quit smoking

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