My Community : Neurocare

  1. What Causes Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)?

    Some of the probable causes of dysphagia are enclosed below :

    • Stroke - During a stroke, the blood flow to the brain cells is reduced leading to insufficient or lack of oxygen supply. In this process, if the brain cells that control swallowing are impacted then it leads to the medical condition of dysphagia.
    • Esophageal Ring - When a small portion of esophagus narrows, it creates a bottleneck for solid food to smoothly pass through and becomes a cause of dysphagia
    • Achalasia - It's a problem related esophageal functioning. The lower esophageal muscle does not relax appropriately to allow food into the stomach.
    • Diffuse Spasm - This problem is also related esophageal functioning wherein the contractions in esophagus muscles happen in an uncoordinated manner.
    • Esophageal Stricture - It is an abnormal narrowing of the esophagus. Esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach for transporting food and liquid. A stricture narrows the esophagus, making it difficult for food to travel down the tube. It mostly related to GERD. Xerostomia (Dry Mouth) - In this condition, the mouth gets dried up as there is not enough saliva to keep the mouth wet.
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - It's a form of neurodegeneration wherein with time, the spine and brain nerves progressively lose function. It an incurable medical condition.
    • Parkinson's Disease - It's a neurological disorder which is progressive and degenerative and impairs the motor skills.
    • Multiple Sclerosis - In this medical condition, myelin which protects the nerves is destroyed by immune system attacking the central nervous system.
    • Scleroderma - It's a group of rare autoimmune diseases where the skin and connective tissues harden and become tighter.
    • Myasthenia Gravis (Goldflam Disease) - This is an auto immune disorder where there is a problem with how the nerves stimulate the contraction of muscles. Due to which the muscles under voluntary control become weak and easily tired. Eosinophilic Esophagitis - This is a condition which arises when eosinophils grow in an uncontrolled way and attack the gastrointestinal system causing vomiting and difficulty in swallowing food. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells in the esophagus.
    • Radiation - Some patients who undergo radiotherapy in the neck and head area may experience swallowing problems.
    • Esophageal Cancer - It's a cancer in the esophagus, usually triggered owing to smoking, alcohol, consumption of both or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
    • Cleft Lip and Palate - The incomplete fusing of bones in the head results in gaps called clefts in the palate and lip to nose area. This falls under the types of abnormal development of face.

  2. What Is Dysphagia Or Swallowing Problems?

    Dysphagia is more common in older people and in babies. Usually caused by nerve or muscle problems, dysphagia can be painful. There is a wide range of causes for this medical condition. If it happens regularly, one should get it examined by a doctor.

    Swallowing is a complex process and involves several different muscles and nerves. Dysphagia can be caused by a difficulty anywhere in the swallowing process.

  3. What Are The Different Types Of Dysphagia Or Swallowing Problems?

    Primarily there are three different types : -

    • Oral dysphagia (high dysphagia) - This is related to the problem in the mouth which can be caused by tongue weakness after a stroke, difficulty in chewing food, or issues in transporting food from the mouth.
    • Pharyngeal dysphagia - This is throat related. Such problems are mostly caused by neurological issues that affects the nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, stroke etc.)
    • Esophageal dysphagia (low dysphagia) - This is related to esophagus and usually owing to a blockage wherein mostly a surgical procedure is required.

  4. What Are The Symptoms Of Dysphagia?

    Patients at times are unaware of having dysphagia which if left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to the risk of aspiration pneumonia (which is a lung infection caused by accidentally inhaling saliva/food particles), malnutrition and dehydration.
    Symptoms comprise of the below :

    • Frequent choking episodes
    • Drooling
    • Coughing on swallowing
    • Hoarseness
    • Heartburn
    • Unable to hold saliva in mouth
    • Difficulty in starting the swallowing process
    • Frequent sensation of food getting stuck
    • Food or stomach acid backing frequently up into the throat.
    • Weight-loss
    • Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest or behind the breastbone.
    • Regurgitation - food moving back up
    • Difficulty controlling food in the mouth
    • Recurrent pneumonia