There are different stages of dysphagia, with each stage causing different symptoms. First, the food or liquid bolus is placed in the pharynx. This is the muscle tube that connects the mouth to the esophagus. The larynx then rises inside the neck and the epiglottis moves downward, protecting the airway. The food or liquid then passes through the esophagus to reach the stomach.
The next stage of dysphagia involves learning how to swallow properly and effectively. The brain is involved in the swallowing process. Therefore, a speech and swallowing therapist can help. These therapists can teach patients to direct the bolus and position their bodies in ways that aid swallowing. Behavioral interventions are often used to treat dysphagia caused by neurological conditions. The next stage of dysphagia is referred to as “rehabilitation.”
Various types of diagnostic tests are available for dysphagia. The first step in diagnosing dysphagia involves a thorough evaluation of the patient. This examination may include X-rays of the neck and chest. The doctor may also examine the mouth, lips, and cheeks to identify abnormalities. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, treatment options may vary. A doctor can suggest a specific therapy or even surgery for dysphagia.
People suffering from dysphagia may require thickeners to aid in swallowing. They may also need feeding tubes to aid in the process. Several other causes can cause dysphagia. A few of these include gastro esophageal reflux (GERD) and paralysis of the vocal cord. And sometimes, severe dysphagia can even lead to aspiration, which can damage the lungs.
The underlying etiology of dysphagia is complex and often overlaps. A speech-language pathologist specializing in disorders of swallowing can diagnose the underlying cause and provide treatment options. There are three stages of dysphagia: the chronic stage, the acute phase, and the acute phase. In each stage, the diagnosis may be difficult to differentiate from another stage, but proper evaluation and treatment can lead to a cure.
The primary stage of dysphagia is a chronic condition that prevents people from swallowing food and liquids properly. The symptoms of dysphagia may include pain during swallowing, choking, regurgitation, vomiting, and weight loss. It can also be painful and awkward to eat, and may result in weight loss and regular chest infections. Although dysphagia typically affects the elderly, it can occur in adults of all ages, including infants.
While the chronic stage is a more serious condition, it is not necessarily terminal. Early symptoms can indicate the onset of dysphagia. Caregivers can begin to identify the early stages by observing a variety of symptoms in their patients. The first stage of dysphagia may manifest as a moist cough or moist voice. Coughing up food or liquid may also be an early sign. If dysphagia is not detected in the early stages, treatment can begin with speech therapy.
Patients with early stages of dysphagia may be able to compensate for subtle changes in swallowing. Motor and non-motor questionnaires typically only have a single question pertaining to swallowing function. Symptoms of dysphagia include difficulty swallowing food, unexplained weight loss, and drooling. However, patients may be unable to swallow the food or liquid of a certain type or size.