Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Dysphagia facts
- What is dysphagia?
- What causes dysphagia?
- Physical obstruction of the pharynx or esophagus
- Diseases of the brain
- Diseases of the smooth muscle of the esophagus
- Diseases of skeletal muscle of the pharynx
- Miscellaneous diseases
- Swallowing-related symptoms
- What is the differential diagnosis for dysphagia?
- How is dysphagia evaluated and the cause diagnosed?
- How is dysphagia treated?
- What is the prognosis for dysphagia?
- What does the future offer for dysphagia?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Diseases of skeletal muscle of the pharynx
- Polymyositis. Polymyositis is a disease of unknown cause in which skeletal muscle becomes inflamed and degenerates. It can affect skeletal muscle of the body as well as the pharynx.
- Myasthenia gravis. Myasthenia gravis is a disease in which there is abnormal transmission of signals between motor nerves and the skeletal muscles they control. The skeletal muscle of the pharynx may be affected.
- Muscular dystrophies. The muscular dystrophies are a group of inherited (genetic) diseases that are caused by the production of abnormal proteins in skeletal muscle cells. The abnormal proteins result in degeneration of the muscle cells and their replacement with scar tissue or fat. The primary symptoms of the muscular dystrophies are muscleweakness and spasm. Examples of muscular dystrophies include myotonic dystrophy, Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, and Becker's muscular dystrophy.
- Metabolic myopathies. Metabolic myopathies are a group of rare, inherited (genetic) diseases that are caused by a deficiency in activity of the enzymes in skeletal muscle cells that are important for generating the energy that is necessary for contraction of the muscle. The most common symptom of the metabolic myopathies is easy tiring of muscles andmuscle cramps.
- Reduced saliva. Saliva facilitates swallowing by acting as lubrication for the bolus. Some medications, diseases (for example, Sjogren's syndrome), and radiation therapy to the head and neck that includes the salivary glands, all of which can reduce the production of saliva, can cause dysphagia, though usually it is mild.
- Alzheimer's disease
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