Why is swallowing so dangerous?
Foreign bodies in the trachea can clog these, which can lead to shortness of breath and, in the worst case, to suffocation. Liquids can run in the bronchi and alveoli and cause massive pneumonia there. These two consequences of aspiration can be deadly. The ingestion of too large a lump can have life-threatening consequences: The doctor speaks of the so-called Bolustod, which occurs when a large food snack (a bolus) between the larynx and esophagus stuck and triggers a cardiac arrest.
What can you do?
Each of us knows an immediate measure against ingestion: just tap the affected person on the upper back and support the coughing mechanism, which will lift the swallowed object back up. Even infants and toddlers can be helped with this method: Place the infant on the belly of your thigh or forearm and pat lightly on his back. Infants should lean forward sharply - usually this movement alone is enough to trigger a cough reflex.
With swallowed-up items in toddlerhood, waiting is a possible treatment option - but then the swallowed foreign body must not be larger than 2 centimeters in diameter and have no sharp or sharp edges. In the course of a week, the foreign body is excreted naturally. If you are not sure about the quality of the foreign body, consult your doctor; an X-ray can often help you to determine the size, location, and material issues of the foreign body.
If the swallowed foreign body hinders the breathing, the person can become unconscious - now lifesaving first aid measures are needed. Contact the ambulance and assist the respirator by breathing regularly until the ambulance arrives.
A drastic measure that is used when someone really threatens to suffocate is the Heimlich-Handgriff, which is grasped with both arms around the chest of the person concerned and in sync with the coughing attempts is exerted massive pressure to the top. This handle will carry larger bites from food and trachea back to the light, but should only be carried out by trained people because of the possible concomitant injuries.
Chronic dysphagia is often associated not only with pneumonia, but causes the person to eat and drink less and less: he loses weight and his nutritional status is deteriorating. In specialized departments and clinics can be examined exactly how it comes to the penetration of food into the trachea. For this purpose, the various pharyngeal muscles are examined, the eating process is closely monitored and deviations from the normal swallowing process are determined by means of endoscopy and contrast-enhanced X-ray images.
Depending on the result, the food is then adapted to the particular problem of each patient, tried different swallowing techniques with a different body posture or trying to restore the normal course of swallowing with, for example, biofeedback methods. The therapy usually has to be carried out for several months, but then over 60 percent of those affected can achieve an improvement.