Apraxia happens when you are unable to do learned movements or signals. You may have the desire and the physical ability to do the movements, but you cannot. There are many types of apraxia.
Stroke can cause brain damage, which can lead to apraxia.
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Apraxia is caused by diseases or damage in the brain, such as: StrokeBrain tumorBrain injuryInfection
Brain disease, such as:
Alzheimer’s diseaseFrontotemporal dementia—a syndrome associated with shrinking of the frontal and temporal anterior portions of the brainHuntington’s diseaseCorticobasal ganglionic degeneration (CBD)
Some common forms of apraxia and their symptoms include: Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia—inability to make facial movements, such as winking, whistling, or sticking out the tongueApraxia of speech—difficulty performing the movements needed to make speechConstructional apraxia—inability to copy or draw simple figures or to make two- or three-dimensional formsGait apraxia—difficulty walking, which can lead to an increased risk of fallsConceptual apraxia—inability to select or use tools or objects properly, to make complex movements at the same time, and to do tasks in orderLimb-kinetic apraxia—inability to make fine, exact movements with hands or fingers such as handling coinsIdeomotor apraxia—inability to copy movements or make signals, or to do a function on commandDressing apraxia—inability to dress oneself
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
A neurological exam—You may be asked to:
Copy posture, movement, and sequencesDraw shapesPut together designsPick up or rotate coinsSelect a tool, such as a hammer, and demonstrate how to use itArrange movements in sequence
Your doctor may need pictures of your brain. This can be done with:
MRI scanCT scanAn exam of the muscles used in speechA speech assessmentEvaluation of walking skills
If you are diagnosed with apraxia, you could also have
aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder.
Your treatment depends on what kind of apraxia you have. Families should ask about individualized treatment programs such as: Physical therapyOccupational therapySpeech therapyCognitive rehabilitation
It is also important to treat the cause of the apraxia.
It may be difficult to prevent this condition. It is strongly linked to stroke. Following steps to prevent stroke may help. Some of these steps include: Exercise
and limit how much alcohol you drink.
Check your blood pressure often.
Apraxia in adults. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at:
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ApraxiaAdults.htm. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at:
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ChildhoodApraxia.htm. Accessed May 21, 2013.
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NINDS apraxia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/apraxia/apraxia.htm. Updated October 1, 2010. Accessed May 21, 2013.
NINDS frontotemporal dementia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/picks/picks.htm. Updated March 20, 2013. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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