WHAT IS DYSPHAGIA?
Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. While typically more common in babies and the elderly, dysphagia is caused by multiple diseases, e.g. stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, and can affect people of all ages.
Dysphagia carries short-term health risks and can cause additional long-term health problems. It must be diagnosed and managed appropriately.
WHAT IS THE MOST LIKELY CAUSE OF DYSPHAGIA?
Causes of dysphagia can include disease or damage to the nervous system, muscle spasms in the oesophagus or other conditions that physically block the oesophagus – or cause it to narrow.1 Impaired saliva production or dry-mouth may make dysphagia worse.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF DYSPHAGIA
Dysphagia makes eating and drinking uncomfortable. However, it is the related serious health issues that give most cause for concern:
- Malnutrition from eating and drinking less
- Dehydration from drinking less
- Weight loss
- Respiratory infections
- Social issues and food avoidance
Many people tolerate the problem and do not seek professional help immediately. Getting a proper diagnosis will directly influence treatment, so is absolutely essential.