When it comes to Thanksgiving and being healthy, many of us worry about overdoing it. This is a natural concern, especially given the wide range of health problems that can come with obesity. However, if you suffer from a common swallowing disorder, you may not be able to enjoy everything that Thanksgiving has to offer.
Aspiration is among the many common swallowing disorders that can ruin your Thanksgiving. You might be more familiar with the phrase “going down the wrong pipe.” Although it often occurs during times of depressed consciousness (from brain injury, drunkenness, etc.), most people have experienced minor aspiration when eating or drinking. Being mindful while you’re eating can help you avoid this condition and enjoy your meal more this year.
Cricopharyngeal Dysfunction and Zenker’s Diverticulum
Some other conditions, such as cricopharyngeal dysfunction, can make swallowing difficult. This usually occurs as the result of aging, as the muscles in the throat begin to weaken. If the muscle is overactive, however, it can lead to a condition like Zenker’s Diverticulum. In either case, you may have trouble swallowing food, a recipe for a less-than-ideal Thanksgiving. If you are suffering from one of these conditions, or have difficulty swallowing in general, seeking medical attention can help improve your condition.
With all of the turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, pie, and other fixings waiting this Thursday, swallowing disorders couldn’t be less welcome than at this time of year. Don’t let these unfortunate disorders keep you from enjoying the foods you love this Thanksgiving. See a doctor if you are having trouble swallowing, and take your time while eating to avoid an embarrassing (and potentially harmful) aspiration.
From everyone here at our Orange County otolaryngology office, we wish you all the happiness in the world this Thanksgiving.