The Danger Of Dysphagia

dysphagia danger

  Most of us never consider the physical mechanics involved with eating or drinking. Open, chew, swallow, repeat. It turns out swallowing is a complicated process which demands a perfectly coordinated effort between your brain, nerves and muscle system (If you have superficial siderosis your inner alarm bell should be blasting). The term Dysphagia covers all swallowing problems but includes two groups. The first type involves a physical or structural problem in your body which impairs movement. The second type, which affects those with neurodegeneration, stem from issues with your neural and motor control center. Malfunctioning nerves responsible for the progressive worsening of dysphagia present a genuine danger to your well being. Staying Aware Gary paid a visit to the speech-swallow clinic during our last trip to Little Rock for a Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). He occasionally has episodes of coughing or choking with both liquids and solids, a 15-year history of GERD, suffers annual bouts of pneumonia, and one episode of pleurisy with pulmonary infiltrates. Given his diagnosis of superficial siderosis his neurology team felt it was time to get a baseline test so the speech-language pathology clinic could follow his case in the event symptoms progress.…

Continue reading….

Neurology Roadtrip

superficial siderosis on the brain

We made our trip to Gary’s regular neurology appointment this week seeking answers to his headaches. Since he left the private healthcare sector last January and entered the VA system road trips are the rule. His PCP, blood testing lab and primary audiologist are in a clinic in Texas. The hematologist, regular cardiologist, back-up audiologist, dermatologist, and coumadin clinic nurse are all in Louisiana. Gary travels to Arkansas for his electrophysiology cardiologist, neuropsychologist, and neurology. We may be living a Willie Nelson song, but you can’t say the VA is not thorough.We went to neurology hoping there would be some headway towards relief for Gary’s headache pain. He never sees the same resident or neurologist, so we are in constant new patient mode.   The VA does excel in keeping detailed notes from every visit, so it’s easy to tell if the resident of the day has done their homework. Gary was prescribed Divalproex five months ago for headache pain. He takes 500 mg nightly at bedtime. The medication has not been successful in stopping the pain but what it has accomplished is reducing the duration of the excruciating headaches.   Five months ago his most severe headaches would last…

Continue reading….