Bruce Willis’ aphasia explained – symptoms of the star’s condition

Bruce Willis to step away from acting after aphasia diagnosis

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Bruce Willis’ family announced in March this year he would be “stepping away” from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia. A statement was shared on Instagram detailing how the Die Hard actor has been “experiencing some health issues” that were “impacting his cognitive abilities”.

It read: “To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.

“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

It continued: “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.

“As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”

Aphasia usually happens suddenly after a stroke or a head injury, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But it can also come on gradually from slow-growing brain tumours or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage.

It adds: “The severity of aphasia depends on a number of things, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage.”

As Willis’ family suggested, aphasia can affect a person’s cognitive abilities.

The NHS says people with the condition often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use language:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Typing or writing

The health body continues: “Speaking problems are perhaps the most obvious, and people with aphasia may make mistakes with the words they use.

“This could be sometimes using the wrong sounds in a word, choosing the wrong word, or putting words together incorrectly.

“Although aphasia affects a person’s ability to communicate, it doesn’t affect their intelligence.

“Aphasia can occur by itself or alongside other disorders, such as visual difficulties, mobility problems, limb weakness, and problems with memory or thinking skills.”

Aphasia is usually diagnosed after tests carried out by either a speech and language therapist or a doctor.

Tests often involve simple exercises, such as asking a person to name objects in the room, to repeat words and sentences, and to read and write.

Speech and language therapy is the main type of treatment for people with the condition, but there are currently no good ways of reversing the ongoing.

Bruce Willis’ wife Emma Helming spoke about her “paralysing grief” following her husband’s diagnosis.

If you’re concerned about someone with aphasia, encourage them to discuss any problems with their GP.

Bruce Willis is appearing in The Sixth Sense on Channel 5 at 10:05pm.

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