ABC Medical Center > Dysphagia

What is Dysphagia?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition that limits or hinders the intake of solid and liquid foods, which may be due to pain, eating too quickly, or not chewing food well, causing varying troubles swallowing. Although anyone, regardless of age, can have it, it is more common in older adults as a symptom of an existing condition.

Some of the factors that can trigger it include:

  • Choking:
    When some food obstructs the airways, it can be life-threatening.
  • Old age:
    Over the years the esophagus wears out, causing difficulties in swallowing.
  • Various ailments:
    The presence of certain neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, can lead to difficulty eating food, as well as diseases that affect the pharynx or oral cavity such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, or candidiasis, or directly to the esophagus, such as hiatal hernia, gastroesophageal reflux, stenosis, esophagitis, and scleroderma.

There are two types of dysphagia:

  • Oropharyngeal:
    It occurs at the pharynx, hindering the passage of solid and liquid food from the beginning of the swallowing process. If it gets worse, choking can occur because food would pass into the trachea.
  • Esophageal:
    The swallowing problem arises at the esophagus, if it occurs repeatedly, vomiting can occur hindering proper nutrition.

Signs and symptoms Dysphagia

The symptoms are related to the type of dysphagia you suffer from, but the most frequent include:

  • Recurring heartburn.
  • Excess salivary production.
  • Decreased body weight.
  • Odynophagia or pain when swallowing.
  • Difficulty eating food.
  • Food or stomach acid regurgitation.
  • Snoring.
  • Food seems to get stuck in the throat or chest.
  • Hoarseness of the voice.
  • Coughing fits.
  • Vomit.

See your doctor to avoid major complications if you have trouble swallowing food or frequently regurgitate or vomit when swallowing. If the obstruction makes it difficult for you to breathe, go immediately to the ABC Medical Center Emergency Room, do not risk your life.

Potential risks:

Dysphagia can cause the following complications:

  • Choking.
  • Malnutrition and dehydration.
  • Decreased body weight.
  • Aspiration pneumonia.

Diagnosis and treatment Dysphagia

To detect dysphagia, your doctor, in addition to performing a physical examination and verifying your medical history and symptoms, will order various tests to determine the cause of your swallowing problem, including:

  • Dynamic swallowing study.
  • Endoscopy.
  • Manometry.
  • Barium x-ray.
  • Computed tomography.
  • MRI.

Knowing the cause that triggers dysphagia, the treatment will consist of attacking the symptoms, preventing them from advancing, and causing greater complications. Subsequently, treatment will focus on the direct cause.

Although dysphagia can’t be prevented, you can reduce your risk by eating slowly and chewing your food well.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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