Understanding Dysphagia: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Hello friends,

Today, we will discuss a very important topic: dysphagia.

Dysphagia is a condition in which a person has trouble swallowing food and liquids.

First, let’s discuss the mechanism of consuming food.

Mechanism of Swallowing and Digestion

The digestive process commences in the mouth, where teeth facilitate the breakdown of food into smaller particles through the process of chewing. The tongue plays a crucial role in pushing the resulting bolus to the rear of the mouth, thereby initiating the swallowing reflex.

The esophagus transports the bolus to the stomach by propelling it forward.

If there are any issues with our teeth, tongue, or esophagus, it can lead to dysphagia.

Tongue weakness can be attributed to a variety of causes, including muscle disorders such as myasthenia gravis.

If someone has experienced a stroke, they may also exhibit weakness in the tongue.

Causes of Dysphagia

The main reason for dysphagia is nerving in food pipe.

What are the reasons that cause nerving in our food pipe.

If there is a membrane, also known as a web, in our esophagus, it can narrow the passage and cause difficulty in swallowing food.

Experiencing reflux can lead to dysphagia, as it may result in the formation of a stricture, commonly referred to as a peptic stricture.

A tumor or cancer in the esophagus can also lead to dysphagia.

Esophageal cancer is a frequent cause of dysphagia in elderly individuals.

An allergy affecting the food pipe is often referred to as “eosinophilic esophagitis” (EoE).

You can also refer to it as “esophageal asthma.”

In this condition, a person may experience constriction or narrowing of the food pipe.

There is a unique condition known as achalasia cardia, in which individuals may also experience dysphagia.­

In achalasia, there is a constriction in the esophagus, commonly referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter. In achalasia cardia, this sphincter becomes abnormally tight, leading to difficulties in swallowing food.

Dysphagia is typically diagnosed through a series of three tests.

Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that involves the use of a flexible tube equipped with a light and camera, resembling a telescope, allowing for the easy identification of strictures or tumour.

If the endoscopy report is normal, the next steps may include a barium swallow and esophageal manometry.

During a barium swallow procedure, a patient ingests a liquid containing barium, which is detectable on X-rays.

On the other hand, manometry is a diagnostic procedure that entails the insertion of a slender, flexible tube through either the nose or mouth, reaching down into the esophagus and stomach.

What is the cure of dysphagia?

The treatment for dysphagia depends on the underlying causes of the condition.

If there is a stricture, it can be addressed through dilation.

If there is a tumor in the esophagus, we typically opt for surgical intervention. In cases where the tumor has reached an advanced stage, we may insert a stent into the esophagus.

In the case of achalasia cardia, options include balloon dilatation or POEM (Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy).

If there is no improvement with medications, we may resort to dilation as a treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis.

Conclusion and Next Focus: Esophageal Cancer and Achalasia Cardia

So friends

In today’s discussion, we delved into the topic of dysphagia, exploring its definition, underlying causes, methods of diagnosis, and various treatment approaches.

In our next video, we’ll shift our focus to esophageal cancer and achalasia cardia.

Thank you.

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