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How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect Swallowing? – Healthline

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Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a disorder that can be a symptom of many neurological health conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dysphagia is a common issue in people with advanced MS due to problems with muscle and nerve control. Difficulty swallowing can happen when there is a loss of control in any of the muscles involved, including your mouth, tongue, throat, pharynx, or esophagus.

This can lead to choking, difficulty eating, pain, inadequate nutrition, and other health issues. This disorder can be improved with the care of your doctor and healthcare team.

Read on for information about this common condition in MS, what causes it, and what can help those who may be experiencing it.

MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that hinders the flow of messages between the brain and the body. There are many common symptoms of MS, including fatigue, weakness, and changes in speech.

Another MS symptom is difficulty swallowing, which is an intricate process with more than 50 muscles and nerves involved. Also known as dysphagia, this disorder can be caused by any condition that hinders muscles and nerves needed in order to swallow, such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke.

It’s very common in people with MS. As many as one-third of people receive a diagnosis of these symptoms related to swallowing. This can include weak tongue or cheek muscles that make it harder to move food around in your mouth for chewing.

Trouble with swallowing is more common in the later stages of MS, but it can happen at any time. Like many common MS symptoms, dysphagia can get better with time but also worsen during a flare-up.

Difficulty drinking liquids, including choking or coughing, is among the first signs of dysphagia.

Other symptoms of dysphagia can range from mild to severe. In addition to difficulty swallowing, people with dysphagia in MS may have:

  • dry mouth
  • weaker tongue muscles
  • loss of some tongue movement
  • slower and less coordinated chewing
  • a delay in triggering the gulp reflex
  • numbness of their mouth and throat
  • frequent throat clearing
  • a feeling that food is stuck in their throat
  • a coughing or choking sensation when eating or drinking
  • drooling and the inability to control drool

For people with MS who are having trouble swallowing, it may be linked to problems with nerves in the brain (cranial nerve paresis), brainstem issues, or other cognitive dysfunctions.

Additionally, people with MS may have nerve damage that causes numbness in their mouth and throat. MS can weaken the voluntary and involuntary muscles that help with swallowing.

There are certain risk factors that make dysphagia more common in general if you have MS:

  • Nerve issues. People with MS who have nerve issues in their brain causing motor problems are more likely to have dysphagia.
  • Aging. If you’ve had MS for a long time, you may be more likely to have dysphagia. Older individuals may also be more likely to have dysphagia, according to this older 2009 study.
  • Medications. Some medications prescribed to manage MS symptoms can also cause dry mouth, worsening dysphagia symptoms.
  • Eating and drinking problems. People with MS can face challenges in eating food and drinking liquids. Eating dry or crumbly foods and not drinking enough water and other liquids to stay hydrated may worsen dysphagia symptoms.

Dysphagia can be more serious if you have MS because you have a higher risk of choking and aspiration, as liquids or food might enter your airway or lungs.

This is a major hazard because it can lead to other health issues, such as pneumonia. Dysphagia can lead to other complications, like malnutrition and dehydration.

There are several methods doctors use to help pinpoint dysphagia and treat this disorder in people with MS:

  • A doctor may have you eat or drink something to observe your symptoms.
  • You may have to fill out a specific questionnaire form and take clinical scan tests, such as a barium swallow. This imaging procedure is used to look at muscles and nerves used to eat and drink.
  • With the help of a scan, a doctor can identify which muscles are hindering your ability to chew or swallow.
  • If you have dysphagia, the doctor may also recommend that you contact a speech pathologist. A speech pathologist can recommend exercises to help you improve swallowing if you have dysphagia.
  • Changes in your diet and how you prepare food can help with eating or drinking. These include adding thickeners to food to make it easier to swallow.
  • Doctors may use medications, like botulinum injections, to help treat some people who have trouble swallowing food. In serious cases, a feeding tube or surgery may be necessary to help with dysphagia symptoms and complications.

If you have MS, let your doctor know right away if you experience difficulty swallowing, drinking, or chewing. Early treatment and management are important to help prevent complications.

Your healthcare team can help determine the best treatment, therapy, exercises, and food changes to best manage dysphagia.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, can happen in some people with MS and other conditions that affect the nerves and muscles. It can sometimes be a serious issue and cause complications.

If you have dysphagia, there are treatment options and resources to help you deal with this condition.

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DeMille Anticipates Broader Rollout Of 4th Dose Vaccination – Country 105

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The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is getting ready for the annual flu shot campaign, as well as a broader ask for arms to get the fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province expanded the second booster dose eligibility on April 7th to those who are 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.

“At this time, I’m not hearing any indication of the province opening up (eligibility) to the broader population, and I’m not sure really we would have evidence that would be needed at this time,” DeMille told Acadia News Monday. “We are much lower in terms of the amount of COVID-19 (cases) in the province of Ontario. With the summertime, we see overall less spread (of the virus).”

DeMille did mention that the District anticipates the call will get broader in the fall.

As of June 21st, 133,334 people within the TBDHU have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80,719 have received three doses.

Officials have given fourth doses to 18,687 individuals as of the last update.

DeMille was also asked about a return to school in September, and what that might look like after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told Federal MPs on June 8th that there is a real threat of the seventh wave of COVID-19.

The Medical Officer says it’s hard to look into the crystal ball and pinpoint what will happen based on the fact that right now a majority of the new infections are the Omicron variant.

“The schools overall did fairly well,” DeMille stated. “We know that a lot of people did get infected, which can cause a lot of disruption because people still need to isolate so that they are not spreading (the virus) to others. Likely a lot of spread happened in the schools when we re-opened in January and through the last few waves.”

DeMille noted that the schools took a lot of measures that helped in previous waves, including improving ventilation.

“I anticipate that (masking) will always be optional, but when the Omicron variant is spreading, it’s always helpful when people are masking in indoor spaces when they are interacting with others,” said DeMille. “(Down the road) we might recommend that people wear masks in schools, but that advice will really depend on what we see circulating, how much it is circulating and what the impact is on schools.”

DeMille mentioned whether it is the school, the workplace, or any other indoor space, the goal is to return to as normal as possible in an eventual post-pandemic world.

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, says WHO – Global News

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said.

The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the U.N. agency has stepped back from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after advice from a meeting of international experts.

Read more:

Canada signs $32.9M contract for smallpox drug with manufacturer Chimerix

There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported in the last six weeks from 48 countries where it does not usually spread, according to WHO.

So far this year almost 1,500 cases and 70 deaths in central Africa, where the disease is more common, have also been reported, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Monkeypox, a viral illness causing flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading largely in men who have sex with men outside the countries where it is endemic.

It has two clades – the West African strain, which is believed to have a fatality rate of around 1% and which is the strain spreading in Europe and elsewhere, and the Congo Basin strain, which has a fatality rate closer to 10%, according to WHO.


Click to play video: 'More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll'



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More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll


More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll – Jun 17, 2022

There are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, although they are in limited supply.

The WHO decision is likely to be met with some criticism from global health experts, who said ahead of the meeting that the outbreak met the criteria to be called an emergency.

However, others pointed out that the WHO is in a difficult position after COVID-19. Its January 2020 declaration that the new coronavirus represented a public health emergency was largely ignored by many governments until around six weeks later, when the agency used the word “pandemic” and countries took action.

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; additional reporting by Mrinmay Dey; Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2022 Reuters

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Kingston, Ont., area health officials examining future of local vaccination efforts – Global News

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More than 455,000 people in the Kingston region have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now health officials say they’re using the summer months, with low infection rates, to look ahead to what fall might bring, urging those who are still eligible to get vaccinated do so.

Read more:

Kingston Health Sciences Centre to decommission COVID-19 field site

“Large, mass immunization clinics, mobile clinics, drive-thru clinics and small primary care clinics doing their own vaccine,” said Brian Larkin with KFL&A Public Health.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Gerald Evans says those who are still eligible for a third and fourth dose should take advantage and roll up their sleeves during the low-infection summer months.

“Now in 2022, although you still might get COVID, you’re probably not going to be very sick. You are less likely to transmit and ultimately that’s one of the ways we’re going to control the pandemic,” added Evans.

He expects another wave of COVID-19 to hit in late October to early November and that a booster may be made available for those younger than 60 who still aren’t eligible for a fourth dose.

Read more:

Kingston, Ont. COVID assessment centre cuts hours for the summer

“The best case scenario is a few more years of watching rises in cases, getting boosters to control things and ultimately getting out of it with this being just another coronavirus that just tends to cause a respiratory infection and worst-case scenario is a new variant where all the potential possibilities exist to have a big surge in cases and hopefully not a lot more serious illness,” said Evans.

Public Health says they’re still waiting for direction from the province on what’s to come this fall.

“We’re expecting that we would see more age groups and younger age groups be eligible for more doses or boosters but about when those ages start, we have yet to have that confirmed,” said Larkin.

The last 18 months of vaccines paving the way for the new normal could mean a yearly COVID booster alongside the annual flu shot.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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