Aphasia Explained As Legendary Actor Bruce Willis Retires Following Diagnosis
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Today, Bruce Willis’ family announced that he is to retire from acting immediately because of health issues, bringing down the curtain on the career of one of Hollywood’s biggest superstars.
Willis – who has starred in classics such as the Die Hard franchise, Pulp Fiction, and The Sixth Sense – is currently suffering with aphasia, which is why he has had to call time on his glittering career.
While many fans will be disappointed not to see Willis on the screen in future, no-one will begrudge him spending more time with his family and less time working, given the 67-year-old pretty much worked non-stop since 1980.
Aphasia is an illness that is caused by damage to the brain and affects cognitive function, causing sufferers to have problems with their ability to speak, read, write, or understand language.
Usually caused by a stroke or a head injury, less common causes of aphasia are brain tumours or infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The NHS website describes the condition as ‘when a person has difficulty with their language or speech.’
The website continues: “It's usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain (for example, after a stroke).”
Of the symptoms, the UK’s health service explains: “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.”
There are different classifications of the condition – ‘expressive’ or ‘receptive’ – which are contingent on whether the sufferer has issues with ‘understanding or expressing language, or both’.
“Most people with aphasia have some trouble with their speaking, and will have a mixture of problems with writing, reading and perhaps listening,” the NHS guidance states.
“Symptoms can range widely from getting a few words mixed up to having difficulty with all forms of communication.
“Some people are unaware that their speech makes no sense and get frustrated when others don't understand them.”
The main treatment for people suffering with aphasia is speech and language therapy.
Announcing Willis’ diagnosis and retirement, his family wrote: “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.
“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.”
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Topics: News, Entertainment, Film and TV, Celebrity, Bruce Willis, Health