Throat

The throat is a complex part of the body that has several functions and associated with many different structures. The throat is a passageway that rests in the back of the mouth. It is linked to several different systems of the body. It is a part of the respiratory system, digestive system, and affects the voice. You can even say your tonsils are housed in the throat. Without a throat, we would be in trouble. It is a part of the body that is sometimes overlooked, but it has tremendous importance. Something as trivial as a sore throat can affect the whole body and make you feel miserable. The throat is susceptible to many kinds of infections and disease. It is important to be careful of the things you put in your mouth.  A healthy throat makes for healthy living.

The throat is a passage that rests in front of the cervical spine. It contains many blood vessels and houses a major artery. The carotid artery supplies oxygen to the head and the neck. Any cut to the throat is serious and can be lethal. If the carotid artery is cut, there is no oxygen flow to the brain and death is imminent if the bleeding is not stopped. With the throat being associated with so many different systems, to understand the full function of the throat, you have to be familiar with the different systems.  

Your Digestive System

The digestive system is the organ systems in the body whose purpose is to break down the food you put into your mouth. When you eat, the food hits the tongue. The tongue assists in chewing, tasting and swallowing. Once food enters the throat, a host of muscles helps propel the food down into the esophagus. These muscles all work together to allow for swallowing. Any malfunction of the muscles can cause dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).  In the throat are two important structures, the epiglottis and the esophagus. Since the throat houses both the esophagus and trachea, the epiglottis is crucial. The epiglottis is a flap that covers the trachea when eating to prevent water and food from entering the lungs.

FIND A TOP10MD ENT | OTOLARYNGOLOGIST NEAR YOU

When it comes to conditions of the ears, nose and throat, it takes the skill and finesse of an experienced ENT Specialist | Otolaryngologist.

There are hundreds of Otolaryngologists to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat procedures take the skill and finesse of an experienced Otolaryngologist. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Otolaryngologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.

For your peace of mind, Top10MD Otolaryngologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.

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Your Respiratory System

throatThe respiratory system is related to breathing. The structures of the respiratory system found in the throat include the pharynx and the larynx. The pharynx sits on top the larynx. These structures are crucial for the exchange of carbon dioxide with oxygen. Air initially enters the body either through the nose or the mouth. Once it enters, the throat, the pharynx collects the air and pushes it into the trachea. The epiglottis becomes an important structure in respiration as well. It remains open for air to enter the trachea. Once air enters the trachea, it is then sent to the lungs where oxygen is transferred to the rest of the body and carbon dioxide is released from the body.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Connection

An ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician specializes in all things associated with the ear, the nose, and the throat. You may be wondering why one doctor has three specialties. The answer is that all three are connected. The nose is connected to the throat by the nasopharynx. The nasopharynx is the upper part of the pharynx that connects with the nasal cavity. When air enters the nose, it is immediately pushed to the back of the throat, down the pharynx. You may be surprised to find that the ears are also connected to the throat. Eustachian tubes connect the ears to the back of the throat. These tubes collect the fluid from the ears and sends the fluid down the back of the throat to be swallowed and digested. Whenever you have an ear infection of some sort, you may also find your nose and throat being affected. All these cavities connect to one another like an intricately structured maze.

Your Voice

The voice is connected to the throat by the larynx. The larynx not only connects to the pharynx and assists in breathing, but it also houses the vocal cords. The vocal cords are membranous tissue that is located on both sides of the glottis. When air enters the throat either by way of the nose or mouth, the vocal cords move. The movements of the vocal cords are similar to the strings on an instrument. The air causes a vibration of the cords creating a sound we call a voice. They work based on the pressure of the air entering the lungs.  

Common Throat Diseases

You may not understand the importance of your throat until something goes wrong. An array of different things may cause throat pain. You can feel throat pain with illnesses that you may not even associate with the throat such as ear infections and sinus infections. Some common throat problems include:  

throatYou can have a sore throat and not have strep throat. A sore throat can be a result of pain, irritation, and itchiness. Strep throat is a contagious disease that results from bacteria known as streptococcus. The bacteria cause swelling of the mucous membrane and leaves white patches on the back of the throat and sometimes on the tonsils. It makes eating and swallowing tough. Tonsillitis is the swelling of the tonsils. Tonsillitis can be caused by infection as well. It leaves the throat feeling sore and irritated. Throat cancer is a serious condition that results from a malignant tumor in the throat. Throat cancer can affect your vocal cords as well as other structures of the throat including the pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. It is not necessarily a disease but more of a condition that results from other problems. Dysphagia can happen when you do not chew your food completely or eat too fast. In more serious cases, this condition can be related to the muscles in the throat, spasms, a narrow esophagus, and tumors. Hoarseness is also a condition associated with some other problem. Hoarseness can be a change in the pitch of the voice or the loudness of the voice. Hoarseness is commonly a result of inflammation of the larynx. It can also be associated with injury or irritation to the vocal cords.
The throat is so complex and affects so many systems of the body. Without a throat, you would have trouble eating, breathing, and speaking. The throat is a cavity that houses so many different structures. When you say your throat hurts, it can be from tonsillitis, hoarseness, or swelling of the larynx or pharynx. Throat pain is a miserable feeling and in most cases can be treated. Understanding the importance and function of your throat can help you take care of it. A healthy throat helps preserve your voice, digestive and respiratory systems.

FIND A TOP10MD ENT | OTOLARYNGOLOGIST NEAR YOU

When it comes to conditions of the ears, nose and throat, it takes the skill and finesse of an experienced ENT Specialist | Otolaryngologist.

There are hundreds of Otolaryngologists to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat procedures take the skill and finesse of an experienced Otolaryngologist. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Otolaryngologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.

For your peace of mind, Top10MD Otolaryngologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.

Take Control of Your Health & Schedule a Consultation Today!

Find Your Throat Specialist
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