Dysphagia

What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia means unsystematic eating. It is the medical term given to a swallowing disorder where people have a hard time swallowing, and choke on their food or liquid when trying to swallow. It is ...

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with dysphagia are:

  • Drooling and choking while eating.
  • Hoarseness and recurrent heartburn.
  • Unreasonable loss of weight.
  • When controlling food in the mouth becomes a difficulty, and initiates gulping action.
  • When saliva does not remain in the mouth.
  • Recurrent pneumonia.

Causes

Following are some common causes of dysphagia:

  • Stroke.
  • Neurological diseases such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Brain tumour.
  • Myasthenia gravis, a condition that makes your muscles weak.

Risks

Possible risks of dysphagia are:

  • Dehydration.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Aspiration pneumonia.
  • Emotional impairment.
  • Body development deficit.

Prevention

Although, dysphagia cannot be prevented, problem in swallowing could be reduced by eating slowly and chewing food properly.

How is it diagnosed?

Tests shall find out whether this disease is the result of a disorder with the mouth, or with the oesophagus. Contingent upon the cause, our doctor at Medanta may suggest the following tests:

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How is it treated?

Treatment for dysphagia may vary depending on whether the problems of swallowing are in the mouth, or in oesophagus. The cause of the disorder is considered while treating it.

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  • Swallowing therapy

    This therapy will be done with the help of a language and speech therapist and the patients will be able to practice exercises to improve muscles and know how they respond.

  • Diet

    Diet is always taken care of, with the help of a nutritionist. It is important to have a greatly balanced diet while consuming foods and liquids, or their combinations.

  • Feeding through a tube

     When the patient is at any kind of risk of catching pneumonia or malnutrition, they will have to be fed through a nasal tube to run through a tiny cut in the abdomen part.

     

  • Dilation

    When the oesophagus has to be widened, a small balloon has to be inserted and then removed completely.

  • Botulinum toxin

    It is a really powerful toxin that can benumb those rigid muscles, reducing any blockage.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you frequently have problem in swallowing, do visit your doctor at the earliest.

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