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Bruce Willis 'Is Stepping Away' From Acting After Aphasia Diagnosis

What you need to know about the degenerative disease.

Bruce Willis is "stepping away" from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, the language disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate. On Wednesday morning, his former wife, Demi Moore, and current wife, Emma Heming Willis, announced the sad news via social media. What exactly is aphasia, is it curable, and how is it treated? Read on to learn about Bruce Willis' health struggle and everything you should know about the degenerative condition—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Here's What Bruce's Family Said

Demi Moore

"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," Demi wrote in her Instagram post. "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. Love, Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn."

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Aphasia Impacts the Ability to Communicate

Close-up portrait of charming old lady, covering her mouth with hands

The Mayo Clinic explains that aphasia impacts your ability to communicate. "It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written," they write. The condition typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury, but can also happen in a more gradual manner, due to a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative). "The severity of aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage," they say. As of this time, it is unclear as to how Bruce developed it. 

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Symptoms of Aphasia

Concerned aged mother and adult daughter sit on couch having serious conversation

Symptoms of aphasia may cause someone to speak in short or incomplete sentences or ones that don't make sense, accidentally substitute one word or sound for another, speak unrecognizable words, fail to understand conversation, or write sentences that don't make sense, per the Mayo Clinic. It is also a sign of some other condition, such as a stroke or a brain tumor.

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older man with dementia talking to doctor
Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

The prognosis of an individual with aphasia can vary. "If the brain damage is mild, a person may recover language skills without treatment."

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Man at doctor

Most people with aphasia undergo speech and language therapy "to rehabilitate their language skills and supplement their communication experiences," the Mayo Clinic Says. "Researchers are currently investigating the use of medications, alone or in combination with speech therapy, to help people with aphasia." Speech and language therapy are the main treatments. "The person with aphasia relearns and practices language skills and learns to use other ways to communicate. Family members often participate in the process, helping the person communicate." If you or someone you know experience this, contact a medical professional. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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