We all occasionally cough when drinking too fast, talking while eating, or when that random bite “goes down the wrong way.” But for some people, swallowing problems can result in more than just a cough.
Abnormal swallowing can be chronic, sometimes painful or embarrassing, and potentially life-threatening. But, there are things you can do to protect yourself, and even prevent swallowing impairments.
Dysphagia, pronounced dis-fageuh, the impairment of the swallowing system is defined based on the phase of the swallow that is affected. Dysphagia can occur following certain medical events, such as a stroke, or following brain damage suffered in an accident. It can occur with dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or with impairments that impact your breathing, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). It also can occur as a side-effect of many medications, treatments or surgeries, or with otherwise normal aging.