What Does a Dysphagia Diagnosis Actually Mean?


Often, when you leave a doctor’s surgery after an appointment, your mind is swimming with questions that either you were too embarrassed to ask at the time or perhaps too afraid to ask, or maybe you now have questions that simply did not occur to you at the time.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with the disorder of dysphagia, you could currently be finding yourself in such a situation; you are not alone. Dysphagia disorder affects approximately 10 million people across the United States and is a global-wide disorder in all ages, although it is more prominent in older people. Dysphagia is essentially the overarching medical term for a difficulty in swallowing and can be devastating and traumatic mentally as well as physically distressing.

Symptoms of Dysphagia

The signs of dysphagia can range from mild symptoms to more severe problems, and over time, if left untreated, it can lead to weight loss and chest infections that are hard to recover from.

Symptoms of dysphagia include:

. An inability to chew food thoroughly

. Coughing or choking when eating and drinking

. A persistent drooling of saliva

. The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest

. Sounds of gurgling when eating and drinking

. Food being brought back up either through the throat or nose

Causes of Dysphagia

One in 17 people across the United States will experience some level of dysphagia during their lifetime, and nearly half of people over the age of 60 will be affected by the disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Although automatic and wholly natural to most of us, swallowing is in actual fact a very complex human body maneuver, and there are a number of issues that can interfere with the process.

When you experience difficulty swallowing, it can also lead to weight loss and dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and choking, the latter needing to be immediately reversed by another person performing a successful Heimlich maneuver.

Dysphagia Treatment

Fortunately, there are several treatments available in the United States which you can purchase over the counter or online without having to arrange a pre-booked appointment with your medical doctor. Products such as Simply Thick are brands of instant food thickeners that use xanthan gum rather than starch to thicken liquids without compromising the safety or the taste of the particular product it is combined with. Such products mix seamlessly with any beverage or food product of your choice and are available in individual packets that allow for easy and discreet transportation anywhere.

Alternatively, more specific to oropharyngeal dysphagia, engaging in swallowing therapy might be more useful, as would making some key changes to your daily diet and general eating habits. Foods that are easier to cope with when diagnosed with dysphagia include souffles, pureed meats and soups, well-moistened mashed potatoes, and fruit and vegetables that are pureed or at least certainly free from any lumps, chunks, and seeds.