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Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)

A problem involving any of the phases of swallowing can result in Dysphagia. Swallowing is the interplay between two separate but related functions, airway protection and bolus transport. Airway protection is the ability to prevent food from entering the trachea (aspiration) while eating.

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Zenker’s Diverticulum

Zenker’s Diverticulum is the development of a pouch (diverticulum) in the wall of the lower throat. It usually occurs in people over age 50. The pouch slowly fills with food with every swallow. Once the pouch is filled, it may spill into the throat, causing coughing and spitting up of food swallowed many hours earlier.

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Normal Swallow

The normal swallowing mechanism can be divided into four stages: preparatory, oral, pharyngeal and esophageal. The first two phases are under the control of the person swallowing (voluntary); the latter two phases are reflexively triggered once the food reaches the throat (involuntary).

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