Alexic anomia happens when you lose your ability to understand written words. You can no longer read and name words. This is a type of aphasia , which is a language disorder. It is caused by the brain not functioning correctly. This is a serious condition that may change over time, depending on the cause.

Stroke—Most Common Cause of Alexic Anomia

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Alexic anomia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, for example:

  • Stroke , which is the most common cause
  • Severe blow to the head
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain infection
  • Other brain conditions
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of developing alexic anomia include:

  • Being at risk for stroke or dementia
  • Having a history of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
  • Increased age
  • Symptoms

    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to alexic anomia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have:

  • Inability to read with understanding
  • Ability to write, but not read what you have written
  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A neurological examination and tests may also be done to check brain function.

    Your doctor may need pictures of your brain. This can be done with:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • You may be referred to a neurologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system.


    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

  • Speech-language therapy—to help you use your ability to communicate, regain lost abilities, learn to make up for language problems, and learn other methods to communicate
  • Counseling —to help you cope with your condition and help your family learn how to communicate with you
  • Individualized rehabilitation program—to focus on what caused your condition
  • Prevention

    Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia. Follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables .
  • Limit salt and fat in your diet.
  • If you smoke, quit .
  • If you drink, limit your intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight .
  • Control your blood pressure .
  • Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin.
  • Properly treat and control chronic conditions such as diabetes .
  • If you have signs of a stroke, get help right away.