Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. When dysphagia is mild, it may cause an individual only to stop eating for a minute or less, but when it is severe, it can prevent an individual from taking in enough calories for adequate nutrition. Dysphagia has many causes. First, there may be physical (anatomical) obstruction to the passage of food. Second, there may be abnormalities in the function of the nerves of the brain, throat, and esophagus whose normal function is necessary to coordinate swallowing. Finally, there also may be abnormalities of the muscles of the throat and esophagus themselves.
Depending upon the cause of the dysphagia, the difficulty swallowing can be mild or severe. Some affected individuals may have trouble swallowing both solids and liquids, while others may experience problems only when attempting to swallow solid foods.
Other causes of dysphagia
- Compression From Other Structures in the Chest Cavity
- Esophageal Strictures
- Head Injury
- Muscular Dystrophy
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Causes of Dysphagia
1p36 Deletion Syndrome
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An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth that has spread to the root. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and the presence of a pus-filled lesion on the gum. A dental professional diagnoses an abscessed tooth and dental X-rays may be required. An abscessed tooth is treated with a root canal.
Esophageal achalasia is a disease of the esophagus that mainly affects young adults. Achalasia makes it difficult to swallow, can cause chest pain, and may lead to regurgitation. Here we discuss achalasia symptoms, surgery, treatment, and causes. Learn the definition of achalasia and what you can do to treat the disease.
Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)
Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a condition that affects the nervous system, causing weakening of the muscles and reflexes. Adenoviruses, poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, and West Nile virus can cause AFM. Symptoms and signs include drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing and moving the eyes, facial weakness, and slurred speech. There is no treatment for acute flaccid myelitis.
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Symptoms, Causes, Life Expectancy
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a neurological disease that progresses rapidly. The disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for the control of voluntary muscles. Early symptoms include cramping, twitching, or stiffness of the muscles; slurred nasal speech; difficulty swallowing or chewing, and muscle weakness in an arm or leg. Currently, the cause of ALS is not known. ALS is a fatal disease. No cure has been found for ALS, however, the drug riluzole (Rilutek) is FDA approved, and this drug reduces the damage to motor neurons by decreasing the release of glutamate.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time, and can be fatal. Causes of anaphylaxis can be food allergy, latex allergy, allergy to insect or but stings/bites, asthma, or other materials or conditions. Symptoms include flushing, itching, hives, anxiety, rapid or irregular pulse. Severe symptoms may be throat and tongue swelling, swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Some disorders appear similar to anaphylaxis such as fainting, panic attacks, blood clots in the lungs, heart attacks, and septic shock. If you think that you may be having an anaphylactic reaction, seek emergency care or call 911 immediately.
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Botulism is an illness caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulism: food-borne, wound, and infant. Symptoms include muscle paralysis, dry mouth, constipation, slurred speech, and blurred vision. If food-borne and wound botulism are detected early enough, they may be treated with an antitoxin.
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Chagas Disease (American Trypanosomiasis or Kissing Bug Disease)
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Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease affects the peripheral nerves. CMT symptoms and signs include weakness of the lower leg muscles and foot, foot drop, foot deformities, etc. There are several forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Inherited gene mutations are the cause of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. There is no cure for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, however, therapeutic measures and mild exercise may help symptoms.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
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Esophagitis (Pain, Symptoms, Causes, Grades, and Cure)
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Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma
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GERD (Acid Reflux, Heartburn)
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Head and Neck Cancer
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Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)
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Is Poison Ivy Contagious?
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Is Thrush Contagious?
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments
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Myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body are the main characteristics. A defect in the transmission of nerve impulses of the muscles is the cause of myasthenia gravis. Myasthenic crisis is when the muscles that control breathing weaken, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include weakness of the eye muscles, facial expression, and difficulty swallowing. Treatment of myasthenia gravis includes medical therapies to control the symptoms of the disease.
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
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Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness, caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and by low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40.
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when the wisdom teeth erupt. Symptoms include pain, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty opening the mouth. Pericoronitis can be diagnosed by a dentist and is treated with pain medication. Severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and weakness. Treatment involves a series of injections: rabies immune globulin and four rabies vaccines administered over 2 weeks.
Salivary Gland Cancer
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Schatzki's ring, is a narrow ring of tissue located just above the junction of the esophagus and stomach. The cause of Schatzki ring is not clearly known, however, some doctors believe they are caused by long term acid reflux. Symptoms include food stuck in the esophagus. Treatment is generally a procedure to stretch or fracture the rings.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea (OSA), and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep. OSA is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep. OSA is diagnosed and evaluated through patient history, physical examination and polysomnography. There are many complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Treatments are surgical and non-surgical.
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A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Thymoma is an uncommon cancer of the thymus gland. Many thymomas are asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they include chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough. Treatment of thymomas includes surgery, and sometimes, radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis for thymoma is excellent when it is found in the early stages.
There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the thyroid are referred to as thyroid nodules. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include swollen lymph nodes, pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and a lump near the Adam's apple. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone treatment or external radiation and depends upon the type of thyroid cancer, the patient's age, the tumor size, and whether the cancer has metastasized.
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What Is the Difference Between Odynophagia and Dysphagia?
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