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Dysphagia

By on April 26, 2012 in Diseases, Health, Prevention with 0 Comments

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing. People with dysphagia have pain when swallowing solids, liquids or even saliva. Or to make things worse, you may not be able to swallow anything.

What are the symptoms of dysphagia?

If you have dysphagia, you may also have some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on swallowing
  • Choking
  • Feeling of something stuck in throat
  • Coughing with food
  • Gagging when swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Dehydration
  • Inhaling food (aspiration), which can cause lung infections like pneumonia

What is the cause of dysphagia?

Dysphagia can occur at any age but is most common in older people. Many different things can cause dysphagia:

Poor eating habits. Eating too fast, eating large bites, eating lying or not drinking enough water while eating can cause dysphagia. You may also experience dysphagia if you can not chew properly due to sore teeth or missing teeth, or dentures.

Nerve and muscle disorders. It is possible that people who have a stroke, or people who have Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophyor myasthenia gravis have trouble swallowing. These conditions may prevent the nerves and muscles of the esophagus work well.This can cause food to move slowly or even get stuck in the esophagus.

Problems in the esophagus. For example, conditions such as acid reflux can damage the esophagus and cause scarring. Scar tissue may narrow the opening of the esophagus and may cause dysphagia.

Other disorders. Certain types of cancer, thyroid enlargement or enlargement of the heart may exert pressure on the esophagus and cause dysphagia.

How is dysphagia treated?

Treatment for dysphagia depends on the cause.

If the cause is poor eating habits, you may be taught to improve their ability to swallow, chew carefully and drink more water or eating. Or you may need to change positions to swallow. This can be as simple as changing the head position at a different angle.

It is also possible that your doctor works with you to find foods that are easier to swallow. You may need to exercise to strengthen muscles to swallow, as the tongue and esophagus.

Sometimes, you may be using drugs or other treatments to treat the cause of dysphagia. For example, if the dysphagia is caused by heartburn, your doctor may suggest taking an antacid or acid reducer before each meal. If you have a muscle disorder that causes dysphagia, you may be using a drug called botulinum toxin to relax the muscles of the throat, making swallowing easier.

If the dysphagia is caused by a tumor or otherwise obstructs the esophagus, you may need to have surgery performed to address these problems.

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