Dysphagia – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Dysphagia – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this disease. In addition, Dysphagia is a very common condition in patients suffering from neurological diseases and tumors in the throat and mouth , for example.

It is characterized by a difficulty or an inability to swallow. The act of swallowing may seem simple and involuntary, however, a series of linked actions have to be taken to do so. During swallowing we go through more or less four different phases: preparatory, oral , pharyngeal and esophageal.

In the preparatory phase, the mastication and organization of the bolus occurs, so that it is properly transported to the esophagus. After that, comes the oral phase, which is still voluntary, just like the previous one.

In this step, the bolus is propelled towards what we call the tonsillar pillars, and then to the pharynx. In the pharyngeal phase, the pharyngeal reflex occurs, being the most complex time of swallowing. The time for this is short, just a few seconds.

In the esophageal phase everything is involuntary. Food is carried to the upper esophageal sphincter and through peristaltic waves it travels from the pharynx to the esophagus and from there to the stomach. Dysphagia is , therefore, a difficulty in carrying out this process, or even an inability to transport and ingest the vital nutrients and secretions of the human body.

Causes of Dysphagia: There are several causes for Dysphagia . Neurological, muscular , esophageal and anatomical problems are just some of them.

  • Causes of neurological origin;
  • Diseases of the muscle of the esophagus;
  • Physical obstructions of the pharynx or esophagus;
  • Other common causes.

Cause of Neurological Origin:

The central nervous system is responsible for controlling swallowing and its processes, both voluntary and involuntary. Difficulties can be felt when swallowing, as both the act of chewing and the correct movement of the tongue and muscles at the time of swallowing are altered by neurological diseases.

Diseases that can cause dysphagia are:

  • stroke;
  • Head trauma;
  • multiple sclerosis ;
  • Myasthenia gravis;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS);
  • Central nervous system tumors.

Symptoms of Dysphagia: There are some characteristic symptoms that usually accompany Dysphagia . Of the most important, the following stand out:

  • Difficulty initiating swallowing
  • excess saliva
  • Accumulation of food in the mouth
  • Nasal or oral regurgitation
  • Coughing or choking on food or saliva
  • nasal speech
  • Decreased cough reflex
  • Dysarthria and diplopia
  • recurrent pneumonia
  • Fever with no apparent cause
  • Difficulty taking certain medications
  • Lose weight abruptly
  • Feeling of lump in the throat
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • food refusal
  • Drowsiness during meals
  • Clinical signs characteristic of aspiration, ie, absence of cough, voice with wet vocal quality, dyspnea or increased secretion in the upper airways.

Dysphagia Treatments: For a proper treatment it is necessary to make an assessment of Dysphagia and its causes. Patients are usually submitted to exams such as swallowing videoendoscopy, in which it is possible to analyze the conduct during swallowing. A study of the person’s life history and a conversation with family members can help a lot towards a good diagnosis.

After a certainty has been established, treatment begins. This usually involves different professionals from different areas. Speech therapy measures are usually required, as well as clinical and even surgical measures.

During treatment, changes in lifestyle should be made. Maneuver adaptations need to be trained and therapies to facilitate swallowing will be put in place. Certain medications tend to help in this regard, and all measures must be taken to resolve the problem.

Living with Dysphagia can be quite dangerous and a doctor needs to be consulted whenever necessary. The patient is exposed, for example, to the risk of aspiration of food , which interferes with breathing. Be sure to look for help.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *