Dysphagia, backstage


"It's only a small sip, but it's very important for the quality of life."


In order to get an adequate and effective answer to many questions around the topic of dysphagia, one must first deal with normality, that is, with physiology and anatomy. Only in this way does one get a superficial impression on connections, strategies and compensations of the swallowing apparatus and its role as the primary function of life.

The ability to swallow is concentrated in a huge hodgepodge of perception, processing, movement, muscle tone, memory, feeling, instinct, preference, tradition, culture, and more.

The swallowing system, in its complete maturation, is a regulation of abilities, skills and reflexes in the area of ​​oral food intake, digestion, swallowing and respiration.


Development of the swallowing system - from initial motor skills through a neural movement pattern to a dual system of engram and reflex


Beginnings of the swallowing system - pedyphagia

A neurophysiological system learns through a fireworks of neuroplasticity, that is, the dynamic maturing and networking of neuronal synapses to a self-organized and interacting network, to network, to evolve.


For this reason, a record of findings and specific treatment must always be closely aligned with the development protocol individually.

For this reason, a record of findings and specific treatment must always be closely aligned with the development protocol individually.

Metamorphosis of pedyphagia

During puberty, the body's physical growth in length and volume increasingly occurs, and as a result, new sensory, motor, and reflexive conditions are also responsible for the swallowing system. From the breath - swallow - coupling to the sensorimotoric passage of food and drink through the mouth - throat - esophageal phase. This is how the young adult swallowing system gradually develops and then continues to establish itself over a long lifespan.

Adult swallowing system in transition to presbyphagia

In the later part of life, the so-called age-related swallowing (presbyphagia) occurs. As a result of tooth loss, dentures and neuromuscular breakdown processes and much more. shows a very individual coping strategy in dealing with oral food intake and the ability to swallow.


In response to all these changes, our brain responds with a brilliant strategy - it is the ability to adapt (adaptation) and to balance resources (compensation).


In the conclusion, it means that there is a large variation of normality in the different stages of development and that the challenge for the clinical - swallowing therapeutic needs is now to differentiate the neurophysiological and pathophysiological puzzle particles in a meaningful way for a valuable assessment regarding finding and therapy diagnose dysphagia. 


Definition of the swallowing system


An all-encompassing description as a definition may be that the swallowing system serves the ability of extra-sensory selection of food and/ or safe oral sensorimotor food intake and / or subsequent effective semireflector swallowing and / or respiratory protection function.


An exception is still here in the neural maturation of early childhood swallowing (paedyphagia), here the oral food intake is still dominated by the semireflector development course.


Definition of disturbed swallowing system (dysphagia)


Dysphagia now refers to the condition of a disorder with regard to the ability of extrasensory selection of food and/ or safe oral sensorimotor food intake and / or subsequent effective - semireflector swallowing and / or respiratory protection function.

In this case, individual as well as several phases may be affected in different weightings.

The heaviest form is understood as aphagia.

Differentiated observation stands for a gain in the understanding of therapy

The more you have learned more about a subject, the greater your knowledge of when something is different from that norm. So your horizon determines your insights so to speak, ergo derives from this your decision making.


Your understanding shapes your competence, so you create your own compass and navigate on the basis of knowledge and not on interpretations.