You may initially talk to your family doctor about your difficulties in using and understanding language. He or she may refer you to a doctor trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologist) or a speech-language pathologist for further evaluation or treatment.
What you can do
- Write down all your symptoms, including when each one started and whether any activity or task seems to make them worse.
- Make a list of all your medications, including vitamins and supplements.
- Take a family member or friend along to help with communication issues.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor, including what types of tests you might need and what treatments might be helpful.
What to expect from your doctor
What happens during your appointment may vary depending on the type of doctor you see. Your doctor may:
Jan. 16, 2013
- Ask detailed questions about your symptoms
- Use written or verbal tests to determine the severity of your communication problems
- Test your short-term memory
- Order additional medical tests to rule out other causes of aphasia
- Talk to someone who knows you well to get more information about your communication problems and any recent changes in your behavior
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=54. Accessed Oct. 12, 2012.
- Gorno-Tempini ML, et al. Classification of primary progressive aphasia and its variants. Neurology. 2011;76:1006.
- Harciarek M, et al. Primary progressive aphasias and their contribution to the contemporary knowledge about the brain-language relationship. Neuropsychology Review. 2011;21:271.
- NINDS frontotemporal dementia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/picks/picks.htm. Accessed Oct. 12, 2012.
- Rogalski E, et al. Increased frequency of learning disability in patients with primary progressive aphasia and their first-degree relatives. Archives of Neurology. 2008;65:244.
- Approach to the patient with aphasia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 12, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Oct. 24, 2012.
- Aphasia. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx. Accessed Oct. 29, 2012.
- Communicating with people who have aphasia. The National Aphasia Association. http://www.aphasia.org/Aphasia%20Facts/communicating_with_people_who_have_aphasia.html. Accessed Oct. 29, 2012.
- Caring for a person with a frontotemporal disorder. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/frontotemporal-disorders-information-patients-families-and-caregivers/caring. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Treatment and management. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/frontotemporal-disorders-information-patients-families-and-caregivers-0. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Boeve BF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 20, 2012.
- Duffy JR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 26, 2012.