Dysarthria

Equip yourself. Learn about dysarthria.

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder affecting muscles in the mouth, face, and respiratory system. The condition normally results from a neurological injury, such as a stroke or other kind of brain injury. Dysarthria is also known as dysarthosis. It is a separate condition from, but sometimes confused with, another speech-related disorder known as aphasia.


Symptoms

Symptoms of dysarthria may include:

Abnormal speech rhythm (intonation)
Audible breathing (breathiness)
Difficulty chewing
Difficulty pronouncing words
Difficulty swallowing
Drooling
Hoarseness
Limited jaw movement
Limited lip movement
Limited tongue movement
Poor articulation
Rapid speech rate with mumbling
Slow speech rate
Slurred speech
Soft speaking
Speech quality changes


Causes

Dysarthria may be caused by various conditions, including:

Alcohol intoxication
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease)
Botulism
Dementia
Cerebral palsy
Dentures which fit poorly
Facial trauma
Head cancer surgery
Head trauma
Huntington's disease
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Myasthenia gravis
Neck cancer surgery
Nervous system (neurological) disorders affecting the brain
Neuromuscular disease
Parkinson's disease
Side effects of certain medications affecting the central nervous system (CNS)
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2
Stroke
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)


Classification

Depending upon the ways in which symptoms are present, dysarthrias may be classified in different manners. Certain classifications of dysarthria include:

Ataxic
Flaccid
Hyperkinetic
Hypokinetic
Spastic
Unilateral upper motor neuron
Mixed dysarthrias


Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of dysarthria is made by a doctor or medical professional. Medical history, particularly involving speech impairment, may be requested, and questions may be asked of the patient. Certain diagnostic tests may also be used in physical examination, including:

Blood tests
Cerebral angiography
Computed tomography (CT) scan (head)
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Electromyography (EMG)
Lumbar puncture
MR angiography
MRI (head)
Urine tests
X-ray (skull)

Treatment for dysarthria may vary from case to case. The individual may see a speech or language therapist. A communication aid may be used in some cases. Where it is possible to treat the underlying cause of the dysarthria, that may be on method used.