Have you or someone you love recently been diagnosed with a swallowing problem? Are you feeling stressed out by the diagnosis and wondering what brought this health issue on? What may surprise you is the fact that one in 25 people here in the United States suffer from a swallowing problem at one point in their life, making it more common than people think. There are a myriad of causes that can lead to swallowing problems and it’s important to speak to your doctor and get tested if you suspect that it may be an issue. Here are five common causes of swallowing problems.
Issues with the Nervous System
For some, an issue with the nervous system can lead to swallowing disorders, or dysphagia. These can include things like dementia, a head injury, multiple sclerosis, or a stroke.
Some Cancers Can Lead to Swallowing Disorders
Some specific cancers can also lead to swallowing disorders such as oesophageal cancer or mouth cancer.
Acid Reflux – Another Contributor
Heartburn and acid reflux can also lead to an issue with swallowing. For some people, it is a minor health issue, whereas others have a more pronounced version of it and that is what can lead to dysphagia. Some medications and treatments can be used for acid reflux disorders, which can make swallowing easier. Changing your diet can also help.
Injuries Can be a Factor
You don’t have to suffer from another medical illness to develop a swallowing disorder; sometimes, an injury can bring it on. Injuries to your neck or head can be the culprit. If you need surgery on your neck or mouth, it can also cause a swallowing disorder, albeit temporarily.
Dysphagia in Kids
The focus usually tends to be on adults with dysphagia, but that doesn’t mean children are immune. There are causes for this disorder to occur in kids, such as cerebral palsy or even a learning or developmental disability.
Know the Risk Factors
There are also some risk factors worth being aware of. These risk factors don’t guarantee you will develop dysphagia but they can increase your odds. What this means is that you should be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can get checked out and tested by your doctor should you suspect a problem.
Common risk factors can include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aging, older adults are more prone to developing dysphagia
- Nervous system disorders
- Some neurological disorders
These risk factors won’t be the case for everyone, but they are worth noting.
Are There Any Treatments?
The treatment plan will differ from person to person, but it typically involves a variety of things. You may need to make dietary changes so that your food is easier to swallow, ensuring it’s not too thick or too thin. Products like SimplyThick can be used for this. You may need to perform specific exercises or take specific medications. Surgery could even be necessary.
Swallowing problems can be brought on by several different issues. The important thing to note is to see your doctor if you suspect you have a swallowing problem so they can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.