Useful Information Regarding Dysphagia Evaluation

By William Barnes

A medical condition that makes it hard for a person to swallow both liquid and solid food is referred to using the term dysphagia. This term is derived from two Greek words, that is, dys and phagein. Dys translates to bad or difficult while phagein translates to eat in English. The condition can be caused by various medical conditions that cause weakness and structural problems in the coordination between throat and mouth muscles. Here are facts regarding Dysphagia evaluation.

The affected throat and mouth muscles are usually in charge of directing food and liquids to travel down the esophagus. In this condition, instead of the food travelling down the esophagus, it usually ends up in the trachea. The entrance of food into the trachea (windpipe) instead of the esophagus is very dangerous. It may lead to aspiration and pneumonia if left untreated.

The prevalence of this condition is at 13.5 percent. This is according to research conducted in the United States . The prevalence is on the basis of a few factors including, population studied, equipment used, and infectious health disorders. For example, the prevalence is placed between 29 to 64 percent among patients with stroke. Variation of prevalence occurs in people with neurologic disorders.

It is hard to provide statistics on the prevalence of this condition on a global scale. This is because the base rate of many diseases that may lead to dysphagia usually vary from one geographical condition to another. In general, all ages of people can be affected by this condition. However, according to research, prevalence seems to increase with increase in age.

Various unique medical disorders may cause the occurrence of dysphagia. Among the common causes are stroke, brain injury, spine, head or neck trauma, radiation treatment of cancer and others. All ailments that alter the working of the muscles can lead to this disorder. Examples of such ailments include narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and many more.

This condition is characterized and showed by many signs and symptoms. At certain times, the condition may get worse as compared to others. It may be also progressive at times. The usual signs include, chills, wet gurgling voice after meals, throat clearing, change in breathing, unintentional loss of weight, heartburn, excessive secretions, painful swallowing and fever.

Dysphagia can be treated and managed at the same time. Management routines involve making certain changes to the lifestyle that one leads. For instance, one may be required to change the kind of foods they eat. Another management strategy is to engage in exercises that target swallowing muscles. Compensatory strategies such as turning the head to one side when swallowing may also help.

Treatment may involve injection of Botox to help muscles relax and allow for easier swallowing of food. There is also a surgical procedure that can be performed to correct the condition. Reflux medications are also available and may be prescribed by the doctor if they see it fit.

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