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Dysphagia disorder that is also referred to as swallowing disorder is a complication, which is very common in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The combination of the two increases the risk of a patient already suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
This situation is worsened because the dysphasia disorder (swallowing disorder) reduces the ability of a victim to take food drastically. Inability to eat leads to a rapid deterioration of the patient’s health status.
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system. The nervous system is composed of the spinal cord, which enhances body motion at all times. Hence, a person suffering from Parkinson’s disease is unable to control their body movements. Once attacked by this disease, the patient’s brain loses its capacity to work normally (Anonymous, 1995, par 5).
According to Ronken and Scharrenburg (2002), Parkinson’s disease affects more than 3% of the people above 65 years (p. 17). This implies that the older members of the society are more prone to these complications than the younger people. However, this disorder is also common in young children.
Parkinson’s disease is associated with the deficiency of dopamine. This forms the main target for therapeutic treatments. Losing dopamine in the patient induces changes in the functioning of basal ganglia network hence affecting cholinergic and glutamatergic synapses (Scharrenburg, 2002, p. 17). Apart from these two synapses, it also has some effects on others.
On the other hand, dysphagia disorder can be defined as a complication which is characterized by disordered swallowing of food or drink. It is a complication which is very common in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease which usually lead to severe consequences (Pfeiffer & Wollner, 2005, p.95).
Other than swallowing, this disorder also affects the ingestion processes. This is because a complex motor cascade or complications of the nerves leads to complications when the food being swallowed passes through the lower esophageal sphincter (Pfeiffer & Wollner, 2005, p.95).
The majority of the patients with Parkinson’s diseases also get Dysphagia disorders. These two disorders go hand in hand because the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease make the patient’s body more susceptible to the Dysphagia disorder.
Pfeiffer & Wollner (2005), observed that despite the fact that Dysphagia is mostly asymptomatic in Parkinson’s disease, a keen radiological and clinical examination of patients suffering from symptomatic dysphagia detects various abnormalities in every phase of ingestion (par 95). This raises the need for a close attention while attending patients suffering from this disorder.
There are several reasons for prevalence of dysphagia disorder in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. People suffering from Parkinson’s disorder experiences motor destruction. This is one of the main ways through which Parkinson’s disease leads to dysphagia.
When the disease affects the parts involved in swallowing, they result in swallowing disorder. Most of the patients with Parkinson’s disease have difficulties while swallowing food. The main cause of these difficulties in swallowing is the weakening of the throat and mouth muscles. These muscles play an important role in swallowing food.
The patients gets many difficulties especially when swallowing solid foods hence the problem becomes complex to manage. Therefore, patients suffering from Parkinson’s disorders experience pharyngeal type of dysphagia.
This complication is characterized by weakening of the cheek muscles and the tongue which makes it difficult to move the food towards the throat. According to Chris (not dated), the progressive loss of muscle control also encourages the development of dysphagia in the patients with Parkinson’s diseases (par 3).
Parkinson’s disorder is very common in the elderly people who in most cases have dental complications (Chris, not dated, par 4). Many cases of the dental complications are detected in the elderly people. This makes the elderly people more prone to the swallowing disorder (dysphagia).
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However, this may be suppressed by good dental care. Dysphagia is also encouraged by lack of saliva. Parkinson’s disorder is associated with dry mouth. Consequently, dry mouth provides a favorable environment for the development of dysphagia (swallowing disorder).
The swallowing process can be divided into three phases. These include oral, pharyngeal and esophageal phases. In most cases, patients suffering from the Parkinson’s disorders gets complications while swallowing in the oral and pharyngeal (Chris, not dated, par 2 ). Although it has been proposed that there is high prevalence of dysphagia in Parkinson’s disorder, this prevalence remains uncertain.
According to Pfeiffer & Wollner (2005), the prevalence of dysphagia in Parkinson’s disorder ranges from 50% to 100% (p.95). In other words, more than half of the total patients suffering from the swallowing disorder will most probably have the Parkinson’s disorder.
In most cases, dysphagia is referred to as the presenting feature of the Parkinson’s disorder (Sharkawi, A.E. 2002, p. 1). Therefore, when swallowing disorders are detected, there is a need to take Parkinson’s disease test.
The chances of a patient with Parkinson’s disorder getting dysphagia are very high if the patient has abnormalities of swallowing (Pfeiffer & Wollner, 2005, p.96). This is because the symptoms facilitate the development of dysphagia.
There are several treatment options which can be employed in the treating Parkinson’s patients with swallowing disorders. A patient with less complications of swallowing disorder is at a lower risk of aspiration and does not require specific intervention (Pfeiffer & Wollner, 2005, p. 100).
High level of drooling implies more complications in ingestion and should, therefore, include much attention in ingestion. The treatments may be directed by the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, when the Parkinson’s patients experiences severe dysphagia, this requires an intensive intervention as it poses high risks of aspiration.
According to Chris (not dated), when Parkinson’s disease patient has complications in swallowing, there is a need to have a proper history and a critical examination of the extent to which patients are affected by dysphagia and gauge the probability of these patients suffering aspiration.
Speech language pathologists and qualified doctors are responsible for carrying out these tests. The tests should be carried out carefully in order to determine most appropriate treatment measures. Other tests which can be applied in diagnosis include endoscopy, barium swallow, and video fluoroscopy.
In conclusion, this discussion has clearly indicated how dysphagia disorder (swallowing disorder) is caused in Parkinson’s disease. The study has found out these two complications are closely related. Patients suffering from Parkinson’s disorder have very high chances of contacting dysphagia.
Patients with Parkinson’s disorder experience difficulties in swallowing which is caused by weakening of muscles around the areas involved in the swallowing process. This the logic in which Parkinson’s disease leads to dysphagia (swallowing disorder).
Anonymous. (1995). Parkinson’s Disease. Web.
Chris. (n.d.). Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia) in Parkinson’s disease Patients. Web.
Pfeiffer, R, & Wollner, I. (2005). Parkinson’s Disease and Nonmotor Dysfunction. New Jersey: Humana Press.
Ronken, E & Scharrenburg, G. (2002). Parkinson’s Disease. Netherlands: IOS Press.
Sharkawi, A.E. et al. (2002). Swallowing and Voice Effects of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment. Web.