What is dysphagia and what are its symptoms?
Dysphagia refers to when a patient experiences trouble swallowing. While this may occur when food is eaten too fast or not chewed properly, it may also be a serious medical condition that requires medical attention.
The condition is usually caused due to an issue in the upper part of the digestive tract. Often, this is due to a problem in the oesophagus, although problems in the mouth or heart are also leading factors.
Symptoms usually include:
How is dysphagia tested and treated?
Apart from a diagnosis confirmed by asking about your symptoms, other tests include:
In terms of treatment, this will depend on what’s causing the dysphagia. If this condition is being caused by your mouth or throat, you may be referred to a speech or swallowing specialist who can teach techniques to help you swallow.
If the issue is your oesophagus, you may have to undergo oesophageal dilation. Here, your doctor uses an endoscope with a special balloon at the end to stretch and widen your oesophagus. You may even require surgery. Here, any tumours or abnormal tissue in the oesophagus will be removed. Alternatively, medication may be your only course of treatment.
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