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Why do I choke on my own saliva when awake?

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Oncologist
Practicing since : 2002
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Why do I choke on my own saliva when awake? It used to happen occasionally (perhaps once every couple of weeks), but after 6-7 months, it now happens 1-3x a day. This does not happen while eating. I do not have acid reflux, but am obese. I do not take any medications,
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 15 minutes later
Thank you for submitting the query.

There are a number of things which can affect the swallowing reflex and may be causing an issue for you. Sometimes a viral inflammation of the throat can do this. also, some autoimmune disorders are associated with swallowing issues but in the absence of any other systemic symptoms I would doubt this.

When you eat solid foods the muscles are more activated to process the food bolus. Otherwise it seems like your body is not protecting the windpipe from normal secretions of saliva as you might expect in a case where no dysfunction exists.

As far as what to do for this - I recommend seeing your doctor who may refer you to a speech pathologist for a swallow evaluation or possibly to an ENT doctor. A swallow evaluation will show the function of the swallowing muscles and assess for any dysfunction. An ENT doc can look directly into the throat and farther down to see if there is something hindering the normal swallowing mechanism.

I thank you again for submitting your query and hope my answer has served to be both helpful and informative. should you have additional concerns I would be happy to address them.

Regards,

Dr. Galamaga
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