Swallowing is a hugely important part of eating and drinking. Even though it is something that we all do on a daily basis, the act of swallowing is a very complex mechanism that involves the coordination of both the smooth and skeletal muscles. The automatic nervous system also plays a major part in the coordination of the different phases of swallowing a liquid or food.

These phases are known as the oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal phasis. If this process does not work as it should, then food may become stuck in the throat which can lead to problems such as choking. Problems with swallowing is known as dysphagia, and it is a condition that can be caused by a range of different underlying health problems. Some conditions that may lead to dysphagia symptoms include:


A stroke occurs when the blood stops flowing to the brain as a result of a rupture or blockage. This deprives the brain cells of oxygen and nutrients which ultimately leads to them dying quickly. In the case of a stroke, reducing the risk of permanent damage is possible; however, to achieve this, treatment must be provided as early and as quickly as possible.


After experiencing a stroke, patients may have a range of symptoms including difficulties speaking, memory loss, paralysis or partial paralysis, and problems with swallowing food and liquid. You can find out more about products that might be ideal for use after suffering a stroke to help with swallowing over at the Simply Thick Twitter page.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe a group of disorders that can have an impact on coordination and body movements, including swallowing. It is caused by disruptions in brain development and can lead to a wide range of different symptoms including weakness in the legs or arms, trouble with muscle coordination, stiff muscles and tremors. In addition to having problems with body movement, patients with cerebral palsy may also have trouble with swallowing. In most cases, dysphagia is a symptom of this condition when it is moderate to severe.


Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that impacts the spinal cord and brain. It does have the potential to be disabling and occurs as a result of damage to the nerve cell outer covering. This leads to a slowing down or a complete stop in the nerve signals that are being sent.

Multiple sclerosis can lead to a wide range of symptoms including cognitive impairment, extreme fatigue, vision problems, lack of coordination and more. Delayed swallowing responses can also be a symptom of MS, as the pharyngeal wall becomes weaker over time and swallowing becomes more difficult. While there is no cure for this disease, the symptoms can be managed with various treatment options.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that impacts the esophagus. It is the result of a malignant tumor that develops and forms over time in this area. The esophagus is a muscular tube running from the throat, allowing food and liquid to pass through to the stomach. In the early stages of esophageal cancer, there may not be any obvious symptoms of this condition.

However, as the tumor grows and the condition worsens, it may lead to symptoms such as pain in the throat, chest and behind the shoulder blades, a persistent cough and voice hoarseness, vomiting or coughing up blood, and trouble swallowing food and liquid. This can lead to further symptoms, such as unexplained, fast weight loss due to the body not getting all the nutrients that it needs. Some of the earlier symptoms of esophageal cancer include throat pain, heartburn, and regurgitation. Thankfully, it is one of the rarer types of cancer, but there are some risk factors including age, or tobacco and alcohol use.


A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, an organ that is located at the base of the neck. The thyroid gland is responsible for the management of hormone production. However, when a person suffers from conditions such as hyperthyroidism or autoimmune diseases, these can contribute to this condition developing over time. Along with leading to difficulties with swallowing, symptoms can include a tightness in the throat, coughing, and a visible swelling around the neck area.


GERD or gastro esophageal reflux disease is a condition that causes stomach digestive acids to travel upwards through the esophagus and into the throat. Over time, this can lead to problems such as the development of ulcers in the throat which form scars over time and lead to esophagus constriction. Feeling like there is something lodged in the throat along with excessive burping are some common symptoms of this condition, along with experiencing a burning sensation in the chest.

Dysphagia is a condition that makes it difficult to swallow and is often a symptom of a more serious underlying disease, such as the above.