Swallowing is a complex process. It takes a lot more than food just passing into the stomach.
There are numerous pairs of muscles and nerves that work to prepare and move food into the stomach. Among these muscles we find the esophagus (the canal that carries food and liquid to the stomach). When your esophagi become inflamed or irritated, you have dysphagia.
Dysphagia is the sensation of difficulty in swallowing or inability to swallow liquids, foods or saliva. People who have dysphagia may experience pain when they swallow. Others argue that dysphagia indicates tumors involving the lower brain stem. While others maintain that it is the sign of underlying esophagus disease which may be due to neurological disease and several other diseases.
|Esophagus Disease may be due to the following diseases:
When you are suffering from dysphagia, eating becomes a problem and malnutrition takes its course. You can't take in enough calories to nourish your body. This disorder is very common in old age but it can also occur to children and all other age groups.
Any problem with the part of the swallowing process may cause dysphagia. When the nerves and muscles that facilitate the swallowing process are weakened, dysphagia is likely to occur. People who are born with abnormalities of the esophagus canal are most likely to develop dysphagia. Infants with cleft palate from birth, for instance, may find it hard and painful to swallow.
Injuries or trauma to the head, neck, chest as well as stroke may directly affect the coordination of the swallowing nerves and muscles, causing dysphagia. Viral and bacterial invasion of the esophagus may cause irritation and swelling, thus narrowing the esophagus canal. When your esophagus canal becomes narrow due to swelling, you'll experience pain when swallowing.
|The following are conditions that may increase your susceptibility to getting Dysphagia or aggravate its severity:
- Thyroid disease
- Gastro esophageal reflux disease
- Head or neck injury
- Disorders of the central peripheral system
- Injuries following radiation therapy
- Drug-induced injuries caused by certain medication such as antibiotics
You will need to help your doctor define your symptoms and determine the cause of your condition.
The most common symptom of dysphagia is pain around or in the throat or anterior neck area. Other general symptoms of dysphagia include:
- Inability to swallow
- Pain while swallowing
- Frequent throat clearing
- Recurrent episodes of pneumonia
- Unexpected weight loss
- Recurrent sore throat
- Choking or coughing while eating
- Pressure in your chest
- Gurgling sound in your throat
If your infant has dysphagia s/he might not be able to explain the above mentioned symptoms. There are certain signs you must look for in your child's behavior to determine whether s/he has dysphagia. Click here for treatment options for dysphagia.
|Signs and symptoms of dysphagia to look for in your child are:
- Inattentiveness during meals
- Refusal to eat regular foods
- Coughing during feeding
- Recurrent episodes of pneumonia
- Spitting up or vomiting during feeding
- Body tensing during feeding
- Lengthy feeding or eating times
- Food or liquid leaking from the mouth
- Weight loss or poor growth
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