Q. What neurological disorders cause dysphagia?
Doctor Answer is medically reviewed by SecondMedic medical review team.
Dysphagia is a symptom of difficulty swallowing caused by neurologic disorders. While the list of neurological disorders that can cause dysphagia is quite long, some notable ones include stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cerebral Palsy (CP), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Parkinson’s Disease.
Stroke is one of the most common causes of dysphagia, as about half of all stroke patients experience it. It occurs when part of the brain responsible for controlling movement—the motor cortex or pyramidal tract—is damaged from lack of oxygen and blood supply due to a blocked artery. This disruption affects muscles used for chewing and swallowing, which can lead to dysphagia and an increased risk for aspiration pneumonia caused by food or liquid entering into the lungs instead if being swallowed properly in the esophagus. Early rehabilitation involving speech therapy can help reduce symptoms associated with stroke-related dysphagia.
Multiple sclerosis is another common cause of dysphagia that results from damage to nerves in the brain and spinal cord along with muscle weakness which makes it difficult to swallow normally. Other progressive conditions like ALS, CP, TBI and Parkinson’s Disease may also contribute to difficulty swallowing due to their effects on movement control needed for proper eating habits such as chewing slowly or pausing between bites while eating/ drinking slowly throughout meals/ drinks respectively; these instructions are usually provided in speech language pathology evaluations alongside other therapeutic strategies such as bolus manipulation exercises that focus on improving coordination between tongue movements required during swallowing actions & airway protection efforts implemented through inspiratory hold maneuvers defending against potential aspiration events during mealtime ingestion attempts. Lastly, medications like anti-Parkinsonian drugs may exacerbate this condition through affecting salivary production leading towards oropharyngeal dryness making it difficult & uncomfortable during swallow attempts thus further stressing its importance when seeking medical care regarding recurrent presence dysphasic episodes experienced over time!
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