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Having extreme difficulty swallowing saliva. Causing panic and affecting breathing. Have C.O.P.D. and diabetics. Suggest?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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i am having extreme difficulty swallowing, but not food or drink. Rather, swallowing saliva is causing near panic and effecting my breathing. I have C.O.P.D. (emphys) and diabetis, hyperthyroidism and cold or flu symptoms. I feel as though I need to blow nose, but very hard to get out liquid sinus fluid. Also feel drip in back of throat.
Posted Thu, 26 Sep 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 30 minutes later
Brief Answer:
mucolytics and topical nasal sprays would help

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

The ability to swallow both food and drink would imply that there is no physical obstruction preventing the passage of saliva.

It is possible that the combination with the viscous or thick mucus in the throat is making it difficult to swallow the saliva.

In this case you may want to consider the use of a mucolytic. This is medication that reduces the viscosity of secretions and therefore makes it easier for a person to get rid of them.
They are usually available over the counter , examples include acetylcysteine (mucomyst), bisolvan, guiafenesin (robistussin).
Drinking enough fluids would also help to reduce viscosity and help the secretions to come out easier.

In addition to one of these agents , a topical nasal spray would be helpful. This would reduce the post nasal drip.

The most commonly used topical nasal sprays are nasonex, flonase, rhinocort, beconase and nasocort AQ.
You may need a prescription to obtain one of these.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any additional questions
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