Swallowing is an extremely important function. Not only does it help us get the water intake we need to stay healthy and allows us to eat food for nutritious sustenance,
but it also gets rid of additional saliva and stops us from choking.
So, what happens if you suddenly start struggling to swallow or cannot swallow at all? This is known as dysphagia, and it can cause some real problems
This piece will discuss some of the common complications of dysphagia, so you can be more informed on the effects on the body.
What Is Dysphagia Exactly?
Dysphagia is a disorder that affects swallowing.
This is particularly problematic for the intake of food and water, and it can take a long time for the food from your mouth to reach your stomach.
This can be very dangerous, sometimes even painful, and can also be very distressing to experience.
There are a few reasons why dysphagia can occur, such as muscle spasms, as a side effect of radiation, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), to name a few.
It can also be caused by neurological disorders as well, so determining the cause will be the first important step to treatment.
Weight Loss, Malnutrition, and Dehydration
One of the main concerning complications of dysphagia is the inability to consume enough food or water to keep your body functioning.
This can cause real issues such as malnutrition and, in extreme cases, even starvation.
There are ways of making it easier to eat and drink while you undergo treatment, and this is usually along the lines of soft or pureed foods that are easier to slip down into the stomach.
You can also use products that are specifically designed for this problem, such as SimplyThick liquid thickeners. These work to help thicken up your favorite food and drinks, such as coffee, ice cream, or even wine, to help make them go down much more easily.
A very serious concern for someone with dysphagia is what we know as ‘food going down the wrong way’. It is not just an occasional crumb or sip of soda that catches us out; it is a risk when anyone with dysphagia drinks anything.
The issue is when food or liquid enters the airway passage during swallowing instead of going down the throat to the stomach, and it is extremely dangerous.
There is a chance of introducing bacteria from the food or water into the lungs, which can cause all kinds of serious problems, including aspiration pneumonia.
It can be treated, but some people may need to be hospitalized and can depend on their previous health.
There is a good chance no one needs to tell you how dangerous choking is and that it is best avoided at all costs. At best, it is an unpleasant feeling that can be rectified by a lot of coughing.
At worst, it can be life-threatening. Food that gets stuck in the throat can cause choking, which can be a real issue for those who cannot swallow properly as it blocks the airways and can have serious consequences.
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