When a patient presents these complications to a physician and they feel testing for this condition is warranted, there are a few tests used to confirm a diagnosis. They are as follows
Barium contrast Xray
Examination of Patient History
Dynamic Swallowing Test
Source: John's Hopkins Medical Center
Some foods that people with Dysphagia should avoid are foods that are high in acid. Examples of this type are citrus fruit, tomatoes, spicy food like hot sauce onions and hot peppers. Knowing what triggers your heartburn and avoiding them can help reduce the symptoms of dysphagia since the stomach acid isn't refluxing back up into the esophagus, causing damage to the tissue and muscle. If the Dysphagia is severe enough, surgery may be required.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important that they seek medical treatment. The risk of aspirating food can cause pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. Also, since Dysphagia is technically a symptom and not a diagnosis, it can be a sign of a more serious condition.
If these symptoms are ignored, treatment for a possibly more serious condition may be limited due to the advancement of the condition. So the bottom line is, if you are having trouble swallowing solids or liquids, go see your doctor. Ignoring problems can lead to bigger more serious issues down the road, which can be costly to your health, and your wallet.
Hormel Foods has recently come out with a Dysphagia friendly line of foods. They are softer, taste better and have the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy life. The button to the right will take you to their site. They have a wide variety to their menu and they come out with new options frequently.
Treatment for Dysphagia depends on the type and severity of the condition. Mild dysphagia can be treated by simply eating smaller bites & taking ones time to chew food completely. Biofeedback, learning how to swallow by working with a speech therapist. A change in diet may be necessary to help alleviate the symptoms of Dysphagia and reduce the risk of aspirating food (inhaling food). There are 3 category diets that physicians follow to treat Dysphagia. Muscles relaxers, Proton Pump Inhibitors are also medications that may be used to treat the condition. It just depends on the presentation of the symptoms. Treatment should be done by a licensed physician.
Type 1- Pureed
This is pulverized food, pureed in a food processor, or baby food. The food is the consistency of applesauce or pudding.
Type 2- Dysphagia Mechanically Altered
These foods are generally softer, but not quite the consistency of the pureed diet. Some examples of this are steamed vegetables, fish, & eggs.
Type 3- Dysphagia Advanced
This diet is similar to the aforementioned diet, although the variety of food that can be consumed is larger. Soft fruits, boiled and steamed vegetables, and food cut up into smaller bites.