Dysphagia is a condition in which disruption of the swallowing process interferes with a patient’s ability to eat. It can result in aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, and airway obstruction. Swallowing is complex, and a number of conditions can interfere with this process. Sometimes the cause of dysphagia can't be identified. However, dysphagia generally falls into one of the following categories. Esophageal dysphagia due to Achalasia, Diffuse spasm, Esophageal stricture, Eosinophilic esophagitis etc. Oropharyngeal dysphagia due to Neurological disorders, Neurological damage, Pharyngeal diverticula etc.
Signs and symptoms associated with dysphagia may include: Having pain while swallowing (odynophagia), Being unable to swallow, Drooling, Being hoarse, Bringing food back up (regurgitation), Having frequent heartburn, Having food or stomach acid back up into your throat, Unexpectedly losing weight, Coughing or gagging when swallowing, Having to cut food into smaller pieces or avoiding certain foods because of trouble swallowing etc.
Treatment for dysphagia depends on the type or cause of your swallowing disorder. For Oropharyngeal dysphagia; exercises and swallowing techniques are prescribed. For Esophageal dysphagia; treatment approaches are esophageal dilation, surgery, etc.Dysphagia can delay functional recovery in patients with stroke and is also the most significant risk factor for the development of pneumonia in this population. The prevalence of dysphagia increases with age, and dysphagia is a major health care problem in elderly patients.