As Chris Kamara opens up about his health – what is apraxia of speech?

FOOTBALL pundit Chris Kamara has opened up about his speech condition after previously being diagnosed with a thyroid issue.

The 64-year-old is dealing with apraxia of speech, which means his speech can sometimes be slow and slurred.

He appeared on Good Morning Britain after fans reached out to him with concern following his appearance on Soccer Saturday.

He said: "My apraxia, when it's bad stops those signals from that brain going to that mouth. It slows it down, at times it slurs the words as well. People are looking thinking 'is he all right? Is he drunk? What's the matter with him?"

Kamara reassured fans who had tweeted him with support.

"Alongside my Thyroid problem I have developed Apraxia of Speech & have been working to get my speech back to normal.

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"Some days it can be a little slow and some days it’s normal. Hopefully I can beat this", he said.

But what is apraxia of speech and how is it related to thyroid issues?

Apraxia of speech is a condition which makes talking difficult, with sufferers knowing what they'd like to say, but having trouble communicating their words.

The NHS says that the condition can be extremely frustrating for people.

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They explained: "Frequently the person with apraxia will have difficulties with conversational speech. However they may be good at ‘automatic’ speech tasks such as counting, swearing, repeating rhymes, greetings and farewell.

The condition does not affect a person's understanding and the symptoms of the condition can vary occurring to the severity of the disorder.

The main symptoms are:

  • being able to say a word correctly one minute and then not the next
  • difficulty at the beginning of words
  • greater difficulty with longer words
  • aware of mistakes but unable to correct them
  • speaking slowly
  • being better at 'automatic tasks' such as counting and singing.

How is a linked to an underactive thyroid?

An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) is where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones.

Studies have previously shown that apraxia of speech is linked to an underactive thyroid.

An underactive thyroid can develop over the years and it might not always be noticeable.

If the condition is not treated it can lead to a condition called goitre, which is a swelling of the thyroid gland in the throat that causes a lump in the front of the neck.

This lump can contributed to a hoarse voice and speech difficulty.

A study published in The Eurasian Journal of Medicine found that voice quality can be affected by thyroid disease.

The paper stated: "Thyroid gland disorders cause minor changes in acoustic voice parameters of patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism."

What are the key signs of an underactive thyroid?

It's important to know the signs of an underactive thyroid as if it's left untreated it can lead to goitre, heart disease and even pregnancy problems.

The NHS says you should see a GP if you have the below symptoms:

  • tiredness
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • being sensitive to cold
  • dry skin and hair
  • muscle aches

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To be diagnosed with a thyroid issue you need to have a blood sample which tests your hormone levels.

Both men and women can have the condition, although it's more common in women.

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