Everything You Need To Know About Dysphagia And How To Overcome It

If you are not a medical professional, you would never know that even the act of swallowing can be performed with the help of your brain, nerves, muscles, two muscular valves, and an unconstricted Esophagus.

If you think swallowing is a simple process, then think again. The swallowing process starts at your mount and ends in the stomach. The act of swallowing happens in its stages.

  • First stage: The first phase is when food is contained in the mouth. This is the only phase that we can control.
  • Second stage: The second phase is when our brain decides to swallow the food. This is where all the muscles and nerves start acting up.
  • Third stage: The third phase is where your Esophagus opens up to take the food. The food enters the food pipe, and through coordinated waves of contraction, it reaches the stomach.

The only risk associated with the swallowing of food is choking. This happens when the Esophagus doesn’t open properly, and the food is stuck at the opening of the Esophagus. The people who have faced this kind of problem suffer from Dysphagia. To make them swallow anything, medical professionals give them oral medication help.

What Is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a condition where people are afraid of swallowing anything. Although swallowing might seem a simple process from the outside, it is a complex process. After the right coordination of the Esophagus, valves, nerves, brain, and muscles, the swallowing process becomes successful.

Cause Of Dysphagia

There is a list full of reasons that can cause Dysphagia, but we are listing down only the most common ones with the most cases.

  • Achalasia: The lower part of the Esophageal muscle does not relax enough to allow the food to enter.
  • Stroke: Brain cell dies due to lack of oxygen in the blood. If the brain cell dies, the nervous system is affected and affects the swallowing process.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: The central nervous system is attacked by the Immune system. This destroys myelin, affecting the swallowing process.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease is degenerative in nature that slowly destroys patients’ motor skills.

Some more:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
  • Esophageal Spasm.
  • Esophageal Ring.
  • Goldflam Disease.
  • Radiation.

Symptoms Of Dysphagia

Dysphagia might come and go, can be severe or mild, or can get worse over time. Here are the symptoms that show you might be suffering from Dysphagia.

  • You can hardly drink and eat food on your first try.
  • You gag, choke or vomit when you swallow.
  • While swallowing the food, you throw it out.
  • You always feel like something is stuck inside your throat.
  • Feeling pain while swallowing.
  • Losing weight.

Diagnosis Of Dysphagia

A speech-language pathologist will try to determine where the problem lies or which part of the swallowing process is the reason behind Dysphagia. The treatment of Dysphagia starts with patients answering everything related to Dysphagia. Once the pathologists get the information they are looking for, they will start with the following tests.

1. Swallow Study

This phase of the test is conducted by a speech therapist. They will talk with the patients and see which food is hard for the patient to swallow. They might also conduct swallow video tests to determine the root cause of the problem.

2. Barium Swallow Test

Then comes the barium liquid swallow test. In this test, patients are asked to consume barium liquid to see how Esophagus is performing during the swallowing process.

3. Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a far more complicated test. The doctor uses a small camera to see what is wrong with your Esophagus. And if they find something that can be cancer, they will take a biopsy.

4. Manometry

This test looks after the muscles movement of the muscles that take part in the swallowing process. In addition, it measures the pressure produced by the Esophagus muscles. This is the final test which is conducted only if nothing is found in the Endoscopy test.

How To Overcome Dysphagia?

Those who are facing problems swallowing food due to Dysphagia must do the exercises listed below. These exercises are designed especially for patients like you and can help patients to swallow food again.

  • Effortful Swallow: This method involves gathering saliva in your mouth and swallowing in one gulp.
  • Jaw Thrust: This method pushes your lower jaw in front of your upper jaw and uses the move to swallow the food effortlessly.

Masako Maneuver

: This method uses the swallowing technique while holding your tongue in between your teeth.

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