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I feel choked on swallowing saliva, what should I do?

Q: I underwent an operation some 25 years back and the pathology report said - site of biopsy - thyroid and the histopathology report - follicular adenoma of the thyroid showing cystic changes. Ever since this operation, I get choking often lasting for few seconds but last time it lasted longer and I was almost sinking. My brother gave me some fist blows on my back and I was fine and started breathing again. Is there any remedy /cure so that this does not occur again? Sometimes, I get choking even when I swallow saliva.

A:Damage to the swallowing mechanism is common after disease or surgery that affects the pharynx or trachea. It can be a serious problem and needs to be avoided by three approaches. 1. Eat slowly and chew well or just drink liquids (or have a feeding tube inserted) 2. Eat sitting straight, avoid talking while eating or lying down too soon after a meal. 3. If chest pain is recurrent, check with a doctor to make sure the pain is not a form of cardiac disease with angina.

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