Eating is such an integral part of life that we go through each day without thinking about the complex processes involved. From chewing to swallowing to digestion, there are many steps that must get completed in order for food to go from your plate to nutrients in your bloodstream. As such, finding foods for those who experience difficulties with even one of those steps presents a unique culinary challenge.
If you’ve found your dinner harder to swallow than usual, you might wonder if you should be worried. Here’s when difficulty swallowing should prove a cause for concern.
What Causes is Difficulty Swallowing?
Difficulty swallowing, known in the medical field as dysphagia, can have a wide variety of causes from the mundane to the severe. Some known conditions that can cause you to have trouble swallowing include:
- Anxiety or severe emotional distress
- Neurological conditions like strokes, Parkinson’s, or MS
- Severe pain in the tooth or jaw
- Tumors or blockages in the esophagus
These are but a few of the potential causes of dysphagia that you can experience.
When Should You Be Concerned?
If you’ve been experiencing some difficulty swallowing, you may wonder if it’s time to arrange an MRI or an emergency room visit. If the cause is anxiety or emotional distress, your trouble with swallowing should pass on its own. However, if you experience the following symptoms:
- Consistent choking on food
- Pain or hesitancy when swallowing
- Frequent bouts with pneumonia (a possible sign of food aspiration)
Then it might be time to reach out to a doctor and receive treatment. Whether the cause is GERD or an issue with the brain, they can help alleviate the worst of your symptoms.
How Can You Treat Dysphagia?
Speaking of treatment, your treatments and solutions may vary depending on which of the types of dysphagia you have.
If the issue rests in the jaw, then surgery to correct the cause of the pain might be an option. You can learn more about corrective jaw surgery cost and recovery from Georgia Facial and Oral Surgery.
If the cause is due to a neurological disorder, then treatment comes in the form of management. That is, crushing pills and hard foods for easier consumption, avoiding distractions while eating, eating slowly, and sitting upright while consuming food or drinking liquids.
It’s also important to remain hydrated, as insufficient water can lead to even worse trouble swallowing due to a lack of saliva production. To stimulate this crucial process, you can also suck on a popsicle or a lemon.
What You Should Know When You Have Trouble Swallowing
When you experience difficulty swallowing, it can be a terrifying experience. It’s not always a sign of something dire. However, if you experience frequent pain when swallowing or aspirating food, then it’s time to seek medical help.
Did you find this guide to dysphagia helpful? Would you like to read more health articles like it? If so, then check out our blog each day for more content like this.