What causes dysphagia?

There are five (5) systems involved in swallowing: muscular (chew, attempt to swallow muscularly), neurological (feel the food and liquid and know when to swallow), respiratory (hold breath for 1-2 seconds in order to protect the airway when swallowing), gastrointestinal (moving the food in one direction to the stomach and not have it come up in reflux), and cognitive (brain commanding the entire process and knowing what is safe and unsafe). When any one of these systems does not work as it should, your swallowing coordination breaks down. These issues can be caused by diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s, MS, Stroke, COPD, CHF, GERD, Diabetes, Cancer Treatments, and Head and Neck Surgery. Dysphagia may also be caused by any post surgery that required anesthesia. The symptoms may be different for each individual.