Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Difficulty Speaking Overview

What is difficulty speaking?
A person with difficulty speaking may have mouth swelling, throat swelling, aphasia or dysarthria. Aphasia is the inability of the brain to combine letters or words, so that language is understandable. Dysarthria is the inability of the muscles of the mouth and tongue to clearly pronounce the words, so that speech is clear. Difficulty speaking may be due to a stroke, a localized infection, or drug or alcohol intoxication.

What are the symptoms of difficulty speaking?
Difficulty speaking may manifest as normal speech that makes no sense, or slurred (garbled) speech. Symptoms that occur with difficulty speaking include sore throat, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, and headache. Additional symptoms that may occur with difficulty speaking due to stroke include arm or leg weakness or numbness, facial weakness, difficulty walking, confusion, and changes in vision.

How does the doctor treat difficulty speaking?
The treatment for difficulty speaking depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for difficulty speaking may include speech therapy and stroke treatment.

Continue to Difficulty Speaking Symptoms

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Difficulty Speaking References
  1. Di Majo L, Bisceglia M, Lanzillo R, D'Angelo V, Gorgoglione L, Chiacchio L, Orefice G. Aphasia as a rare presentation of monosymptomatic demyelinating disease: case report and review of the literature. Neurol Sci. 2002 Jun;23(2):79-82. [1223549]
  2. Grossman M, Ash S. Primary progressive aphasia: a review. Neurocase. 2004 Feb;10(1):3-18. [15849155]
  3. Westbury C, Bub D. Primary progressive aphasia: a review of 112 cases. Brain Lang. 1997 Dec;60(3):381-406. [9398390]
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