Frequently Asked Questions About Dysphagia

Frequently Asked Questions About Dysphagia

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  • In general, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease can cause dysphagia
  • There’s a possibility that anxiety can cause dysphagia. It causes your body to release stress hormones that cause your muscles to contract, and one area that can become affected is your throat

Q: What does dysphagia mean?

A: In essence, dysphagia is a condition that means "difficulty in swallowing." The word is believed to have been first used during the 18th century. It is a combination of the words "dys" denoting difficulty,1 and "phagia" which is the Greek word for eating.2

Q: What causes dysphagia?

A: Swallowing is a complex movement that requires the participation of various muscles to push down foods and liquids down the esophagus. Since there are many parts involved, many different causes can affect the action as well. In general, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease can cause dysphagia. In other cases, gastroesophageal disease (GERD), tumors and achalasia can cause trouble swallowing.3

Q: What is the difference dysphagia and aphasia?

A: Aphasia is a completely different disease from dysphagia. It is a communication disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain responsible for language. It is often caused by a stroke, however, other factors such as brain tumors, traumatic injury and neurological disorders can cause aphasia as well.4 Depending on how your speech is affected, there are several forms of aphasia:5

Global Aphasia

This type is the most severe form of the disease. It is apparent when a person can produce very few recognizable words and has immense difficulty understanding language.

Furthermore, these people cannot read or write. Effects are usually seen immediately after a severe stroke.

Broca’s Aphasia

This type is characterized by severely reduced speeches comprised of less than four words. Vocabulary is limited and the formation of sounds is usually laborious and clumsy.

All in all, the affected person may understand speech and reading very well, but may have trouble writing things down.

Mixed Non-Fluent Aphasia

Patients who have sparse and effortful speech that resemble Broca’s aphasia fall under this category.

However, its main characteristic is limited comprehension of speech, plus reading or writing abilities that do not go beyond an elementary level.

Wernicke’s Aphasia

Also known as fluent aphasia, this type is marked by an impairment in the ability to understand the meaning of spoken words, but their aptitude to produce their own speech is largely unaffected.

However, speech is far from normal, as irrelevant words may appear during a conversation. Reading and writing are impaired as well.

Anomic Aphasia

People who have difficulty finding words to things they want to discuss fall under this category. They also tend to be prone to frustration because their words can be vague.

On the other hand, they understand speech and written text adequately.

Primary Progressive Aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a special form of aphasia wherein a patient slowly loses their language capabilities.

Unlike other causes such as stroke or head trauma, PPA is caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. First faculties affected are speech and language, but memory follows afterward.

Q: Can severe anxiety cause dysphasia?

A: Yes, there’s a possibility that anxiety can cause dysphagia. It causes your body to release stress hormones that cause your muscles to contract, and one area that can become affected is your throat.6

MORE ABOUT DYSPHAGIA

Dysphagia: Introduction

What Is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia Symptoms

Dysphagia Causes

Dysphagia Treatment

Dysphagia Prevention

Dysphagia Diet

Dysphagia FAQ


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