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Healthy Living | Too Hard To Swallow? Get The Help You Need


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Difficulty swallowing is quite a common problem and one that can make even the simplest of tasks, like eating, more difficult. It is commonly referred to as dysphagia and stems from a problem usually with the esophagus. It’s most common in young children and older adults but can happen at any stage of your lifetime. Especially if you’re prone to issues with your brain or nervous system.

There are many different causes of dysphagia, and some of them are no cause for concern. However, there are a few other signs you need to be on the lookout for. If you suffer from persistent difficulty with swallowing, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Getting to the bottom of it is of utmost importance.

14741604571_88bcd41c65_cPhoto Source | Flickr

So, what can cause dysphagia?

The problem stems from your brain being unable to communicate with your esophagus properly. The most common reasons for this is after suffering from a stroke, brain, or spinal cord injury. It is, however, common among people that suffer from ailments that affect the nervous system. People with Parkinson’s disease, for example, are more at risk than others. It could also be a sign of an underlying problem with your immune system, and a result of inflammation.

These are all cause for concern, but there are other minor reasons that you may be experiencing dysphagia. Being a sufferer of acid reflux can contribute to it, as can some allergic reactions. Benign cysts in the throat may also pose you a couple of problems. Or it could be as simple as being dehydrated.

What should you be looking out for?

There are, as you might expect, common symptoms that go hand in hand with dysphagia. Struggling to swallow food on your first attempt is, of course, the most frequent complaint. However, you may also suffer from gagging or food and liquids coming back up after swallowing. This is due to the esophagus being unable to push them down into your stomach.

If you feel pain when you swallow or suffer from heartburn regularly, you may be suffering from dysphagia.

How is dysphagia treated?

Luckily, we live in an age where treatment is readily available for all kinds of different ailments. You may not need to suffer for too long. In many cases, you may find that simple adjustments to your diet can have a profound impact. There is a national dysphagia diet which was designed to make eating easier for dysphagia sufferers.

Another common treatment is special exercise, designed to strengthen the muscles in your esophagus. These have proven to be incredibly effective at helping sufferers to regain control. If you don’t have any severe symptoms, you may be prescribed heartburn medication to alleviate any discomfort you might feel.

In more complex scenarios, it’s not uncommon for surgery to be performed in order to loosen the esophagus. This allows food to travel down your pipes easier, and in many cases, solves the problem.

You should consult your doctor to determine any kind of health problems.

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