Dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, brings with it a number of challenges ranging from discomfort when swallowing to an inability to swallow. Not only can this condition be painful, but it can also signal underlying medical problems that require immediate attention. Understanding its symptoms, causes and diagnostic methods is crucial to properly addressing this condition.
What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is defined as difficulty swallowing, which involves a delay or extra effort for food and liquids to travel from the mouth to the stomach. While occasional swallowing difficulties are not usually cause for alarm, persistent swallowing may indicate a serious medical condition that needs treatment.
Symptoms and causes of dysphagia
Symptoms associated with dysphagia can manifest in a variety of ways, from pain when swallowing to the sensation of food getting stuck in the throat. The underlying causes also vary and can range from neurological disorders to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
Types of dysphagia
Dysphagia falls into two main categories: oesophageal and oropharyngeal. Oesophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of a blockage or blockage in the throat or chest after swallowing begins, while oropharyngeal dysphagia makes it difficult for food to pass from the mouth into the throat and oesophagus, which can lead to dangerous situations such as aspiration pneumonia.
Risk factors and complications
Ageing and certain medical conditions, such as neurological or nervous system disorders, are considered risk factors for dysphagia. This condition can lead to serious complications, including malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia and even choking, which can be fatal if not properly treated.
Diagnosis and assessment
Diagnosis of dysphagia involves assessment of swallowing efficiency and safety. Clinical methods, such as a detailed history and physical examination, together with specific complementary tests, such as videofluoroscopy and fibrolaryngoscopy, are used to better understand the patient’s swallowing difficulties.
Volume-viscosity clinical examination method (VVECM-V)
This simple and safe method uses different volumes and viscosities of food boluses to assess the patient’s swallowing. The MECV-V detects dysfunctions in swallowing efficiency and safety, helping to select the safest diet and providing vital information for specific complementary tests.
In summary, dysphagia can be a complex condition with multiple causes and potential risks. Identifying its symptoms, risks and appropriate diagnostic methods is essential to provide effective treatment and improve the quality of life for sufferers. If you experience persistent swallowing difficulties, it is essential to seek medical attention to address this problem in a timely and accurate manner.
Clavé Civit P, García Peris P. Guide to the diagnosis and nutritional and rehabilitative treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Glosa, 2011.