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How can a stroke affect your tongue?

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Quick Answer

Stroke can lead to weakness or coordination difficulty in the tongue, mouth or lip muscles, according to Allina Health. This can affect the patient's chewing, sucking or swallowing ability; resonance, rhythm or rate of speech; pronunciation of words; and voice or breathing.

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How can a stroke affect your tongue?
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Full Answer

People with mild dysarthria experience clear or moderately garbled speech. Dysarthria refers to speech difficulty resulting from damage to the brain's motor center, explains Allina Health. Individuals with dysarthria know the correct words but find it hard to say them. Those with serious dysarthria usually fail to produce comprehensible words, as they cannot coordinate their speech properly.

People with dysphagia suffer a swallowing problem related to weakness or loss of sensation in the throat, palate, lips or tongue, notes Allina Health. They often find it tough to move food in the mouth and commonly experience food sticking in the throat. They also tend to cough or choke on solid foods or liquids.

To prevent choking, doctors recommend consulting with a speech-language pathologist if the patient coughs when swallowing, states Allina Health. Stroke sufferers should also avoid stopping a cough, because it is a natural means of the body to protect itself against choking. Additionally, it helps to use thickened liquids to ease coughing. Emergency medical help is necessary if a person cannot stop coughing or cannot clear his airway.

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