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WHAT IS SWALLOWING?

Swallowing or deglutition is basically an action of passing solids and liquids into the throat and subsequently into the esophagus and finally pushing into the digestive tract. It occurs in four stages:


WHAT IS FEEDING?

Feeding is the act of putting food or drink into the mouth for the sake of nourishment of the
body.


WHAT IS A SWALLOWING DISORDER?

Trouble of swallowing solids or liquids is an indication that pilots several neurological disorders. In medical term, it is known as Dysphagia. This problem can surface at any stage of the swallowing process, from the food passing through the throat to the digestive tract.

STAGE – 1

At first when some solid food or liquid goes into the mouth, it is chewed and manipulated there to make it ready for swallowing. But lack of control, strength or feeling, which may happen due to nerve disease or stroke, can push the food or liquid directly to the throat causing serious choking hazard.

STAGE – 2

At the oral stage the tongue drives the chewed food particles and liquid to the back of the mouth. The food particles create muscle rigidity and contractions. The muscle which opens at the back of the mouth to let the food move into the throat can malfunction and trigger aspiration (food morsels moving into the windpipe), resulting in chocking.

STAGE – 3

This stage is also known as pharyngeal stage. The mouth is connected to the pharynx through a swallowing tube or esophagus to allow food or liquid to pass from one organ to the other. But due to muscle contraction food may get stuck in the chest.

STAGE – 4

At the final stage or esophageal stage food or liquid passes through the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter muscle allows food into the stomach. But the lack of strength of the esophageal muscle at the opening of the stomach can create reflux, a condition where acidic secretions are forced to come back up into the stomach.



WHAT IS A FEEDING DISORDER?

A feeding disorder refers to the problem of consuming and swallowing food which prevents growth and weight gain. This is mostly common among children. For example, a child, who is a picky eater, yet consumes food of all groups, has a balanced diet. On the contrary, a child with feeding disorder eats limited food avoiding the whole food group, liquid or texture lacks nutrition and proper development.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWALLOWING DISORDER AND FEEDING DISORDER?

Swallowing disorders and feeding disorders, both the terms, are used to describe the difficulty of eating as a consequence of anatomical or psychological issues. However, on a broader view of the terms, swallowing disorders can be defined as the result of muscle weakness or dysfunction that obstructs the action of moving food from the back of the mouth to the stomach. On the other hand, feeding disorders are behavior oriented and ensue an aversion or refusal to food or liquid. These conditions might be observed in people of all age groups but are commonly found in the infants and geriatric populations.

Swallowing and feeding impairments must be diagnosed and treated soon for the greatest success, especially in children. For this the intervention of a speech and language therapist for swallowing disorder treatment in Kolkata can be quite instrumental in the management of psychological and physiological problems and developing age-suitable feeding skills.

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