Dysphagia is a condition that makes it difficult and painful for you to swallow liquids and solids, which can make mealtime a challenge. If you have this condition, it's important to seek help from an ear, nose, and throat doctor. They'll have ample experience dealing with patients who suffer from dysphagia and will be able to offer a few different treatment options that can help you to manage this condition. While you should never ignore any health condition, dysphagia is one that can have serious consequences if you don't take action. Here are some reasons that prompt treatment for your dysphagia is important.
People who suffer from dysphagia will often struggle to consume an adequate amount of food each day. Over time, failing to eat enough can result in a number of issues. One big problem is that you can become nutritionally deficient. For example, if your dysphagia is affecting your ability to consume enough protein, you can feel tired, be physically weak, and even lose weight. Similarly, if you aren't getting the vitamins and minerals that your body requires to function, you can face all sorts of unpleasant issues. Your immune system could become weak, for example, resulting in you often getting sick.
When you have dysphagia, it's often easy to become isolated from your friends and even your family. Eating is a challenge — not only because it can take you a long time to try to swallow a mouthful of food, but also because you can sometimes regurgitate what you do manage to swallow. It's common to feel embarrassed about your dysphagia symptoms, which may cause you to withdraw from get-togethers. For example, you might repeatedly turn down invitations to go out for meals with friends, perhaps to the point that they stop asking. Over time, you may realize that your dysphagia is dramatically affecting your social life.
One of the serious challenges of having dysphagia is that you have an increased risk of choking. When you struggle to swallow your food, there's a chance that it can become lodged in your esophagus. While coughing can sometimes bring the food back into your mouth, there can be times when the food will not budge. This may lead to someone having to perform the Heimlich maneuver on you. If you're eating alone, however, you might worry about choking and not receiving first aid. When you visit an ear, nose, and throat physician for help with your dysphagia, you won't have to worry about these issues.