Pa Richard kept sighing and shifting his chair in the dining room and one look at his old, sweet but wrinkled face would pass the message that he was uncomfortable. His 62-year-old wife who had been suspicious especially about his dining troubles in recent times had to blurt out even in the middle of her process of deglutition.
“Honey, you cannot tell me this time that nothing is wrong. This is certainly not a sore-throat and I think you should visit the hospital. Perhaps we visit first thing tomorrow morning” She said, with an apprehensive look on her face which got her eyes twitching, and was also obvious in her voice, which appeared to shake.
“No, I’m fine, it’s just a bad sore throat, and I’ll be fine by the morning.” The bespectacled Octagenerian said while trying to smile, in a feeble attempt to hide his pain. Deep down, he didn’t want to continue his dinner, but he knew that his missus wouldn’t approve of it, and then also, this was pounded yam, and egusi soup with assorted meat, his favorite meal of which he should have down by now.
He decided to try once more, and after the first and second morsels, he cried out loud and in the process, spilled the wash-hand water on the table, coughing and with tears in his eyes.
His wife’s face had a mix of worry and dismay, which became stern as she said “We’re seeing the doctor tomorrow and there’s nothing you can say about that”
Poor Papa. He knew better than to counter her and deep down also, he wanted to get better.
The next day, in matching outfits, they arrived early at the hospital, and he was told he has dysphagia…
Dysphagia, or simply difficulty swallowing means it takes more time and effort for food or liquid or both to move from the mouth to the stomach. It may sometimes be associated with pain and in severe cases, swallowing may be practically impossible. Painful swallowing is known as Odynophagia.
It can occur at any age but is usually more common in adults.
Symptoms of Dysphagia
* Pain while swallowing (odynophagia)
* Inability to swallow
* Drooling of saliva
* Hoarse voice
* Regurgitation of food
* Frequent heartburn or acid reflux in the throat
* Losing weight
* Cutting food into smaller pieces or avoiding certain foods
* Dreading the process of eating as a whole.
1. The weakness of the lower oesophageal muscles
2. Narrowing of a part, or parts of the esophagus.
3. Presence of foreign bodies in the throat. E.g Dentures
4. Inflammation of the esophagus
5. Oesophageal tumors
6. Neurological disorders
Usually, a Clinical Diagnosis, although some diagnostic tests which would include a barium meal shot on an Xray, and Endoscopy, and other imaging tests.
This is usually due to the cause and could range from speech exercises to the use of medications and in severe cases, surgery might be needed.