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What should I do when I'm unable to swallow saliva leading to choking sensations after recovering from a stroke?

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Posted on 5 days ago
Question: July 16th 2018

For 3 months, I have had a choking cough that defies diagnosis, I wake up choking on my own saliva I spit out slimy loose wads of a phlegm that is "bubbly", clear and and stringy. I have seen my primary, a pulmonologist, and ENT specialist and ER and Urgent Care doctors. I have taken cough medicine with codeine and over the counter cold and cough preparations including guaiatussin AC 100-10. i have had throat cultures that came back negative, and Chest and sinus x-rays were also negative.

The cough is loose and rumbles in my upper chest but does not show color or blood. Very little of the sputum comes into my mouth, and if I clear my throat before I spit into a sink, I get a discharge that is salty and stringy – almost as if it wants to be cut with a knife to be ejected from my throat.

I am 79 year old female in general good health, but have lately been diagnosed with hydrocephalia and there is mri evidence of a stroke in my brain that first surfaced about 6 months ago. I fall often if I let my guard down. I have been battling balance issues and feel “pulls mw ro the right as I walk. I am on n blood pressure and cholesterol meds for many years, My primary recently changed my BP med from Losartin to Amlodopine with no improvement, I am active and my weight is average weight for my height.. I also take generic Zoloftt, and have taken it for the past 20 years for mild anxiety.


Do you have any idea of the source of these problems and what type of medical help I should be seeking.?
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Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
It could have been triggered by your stroke

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

I think I understand what is going on. Saliva is secreted all thoughout the day and we constantly swallow it. It seems that your stroke has messed with your ability to swallow saliva, thus leading to accumulation of saliva, especially when sleeping. As a result, the secretions are possibly thick and you drool. Furthermore, the reduction of forward gastrointestinal movement (peristaltis) is complicating the matters further. You need to go for a high fiber diet and also see a physical therapist and learn active and passive exercises that will help you to strengthen the muscles of mouth and tongue and evade the effects of stroke.

The other thing that could benefit you is steam inhalation. It will help in diluting the phlegm and should provide relief.

Feel free to write back.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Answered by
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Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1954

Answered : 4472 Questions

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What should I do when I'm unable to swallow saliva leading to choking sensations after recovering from a stroke?

Brief Answer: It could have been triggered by your stroke Detailed Answer: Hi, I think I understand what is going on. Saliva is secreted all thoughout the day and we constantly swallow it. It seems that your stroke has messed with your ability to swallow saliva, thus leading to accumulation of saliva, especially when sleeping. As a result, the secretions are possibly thick and you drool. Furthermore, the reduction of forward gastrointestinal movement (peristaltis) is complicating the matters further. You need to go for a high fiber diet and also see a physical therapist and learn active and passive exercises that will help you to strengthen the muscles of mouth and tongue and evade the effects of stroke. The other thing that could benefit you is steam inhalation. It will help in diluting the phlegm and should provide relief. Feel free to write back. Regards