Jan 29, 2018
Having difficulty swallowing or the inability to swallow is known as dysphagia.
Symptoms of dysphagia include:
There are several conditions that can affect each phase of the swallowing process.
Dysphagia during the oral phase, or voluntary phase, can be caused by neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, advanced Parkinson's. Brain damage caused by trauma or stroke can also cause trouble swallowing in adults.
Babies start out nursing or feeding through a bottle and their swallowing mechanism is reversed. A reverse swallow is when the tongue is thrust forward or out of the mouth to open the throat and allow food or drink down the esophagus. As children learn to eat solid food and drink from a cup, the swallowing procedure changes. Children can also have trouble swallowing, but the root causes are completely different. Premature birth, low birth weight, cleft lip or palate, and tongue or lip ties can lead to swallowing issues if not corrected with therapy. These issues can cause swallowing issues with the reverse mechanism as well as make it difficult to convert to a regular swallow. Children with low muscle tone are also more likely to stick with the reverse swallow because it is easier.
Pharyngeal diverticula are pouches that form in the mucous membrane above the esophagus. These pouches can collect food particles that don't get swallowed. This can cause bad breath, as well as coughing, and constant throat-clearing because it feels like something is stuck in the throat.
There are several swallowing issues that stem from the esophagus and esophageal phase.
The risk of dysphagia increases with age, mostly because the risk of the conditions that cause dysphagia increases with age as well. And while dysphagia can be very uncomfortable, the biggest concern is with the risk of aspiration, or breathing food or drink into the lungs, that leads to pneumonia.
Muscle Tone discussion - Accordion in Your Brain
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