Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulty/disorder.
That means there can be a difficulty with any part of the swallowing process from the preparation for feeding/swallowing, to the esophagus where digestion begins to take over.
- Difficulty in oral preparation or difficulty moving material from the mouth to the stomac
- All behavioral, sensory, and preliminary motor acts in preparation for the swallow, including cognitive awareness of the upcoming eating situation, visual recognition of food, and all of the physiologic responses to the smell and presence of food such as increased salivation
- Positioning food in the mouth and the oral manipulation preceding the swallow, including suckling, sucking, and masticating.
- Dysphagia is NOT a disease, however it is a symptom of a disease, therefore before it is to be treated it is imperative to find the underlying cause of the Dysphagia and to make sure that the underlying cause is treated appropriately nor interfering with what you would like to accomplish Speech wise
- Occurs in all age groups from newborns to the elderly
- Occur as a result of congenital abnormalities, structural damage, weakness, and/or medical conditions
- Dysphagia affects numerous people
- 47-50% of stroke survivors (Ding & Logemann, 2000; Smithard et al., 1996)
- 40-50% of nursing home residents (Robins et al., 1992; Sorin et al., 1988)
- Can be acute or slowly progressive
- Patients may exhibit excellent awareness or be oblivious to the condition depending on their co-existing condition.
- Those who are aware tend to be accurate as to the localization of the problem
Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia
Some of these reported s/s do not always mean that the person has Dysphagia and least of all do NOT mean that the person is penatrating/aspirating. These are just signs and symptoms meant to simply recognize, record, and hopefully prevent what could be Dysphagia and a call for either a screening or full evaluation to investigate further.
- Inability to recognize food
- Difficulty placing food in the mouth
- Inability to control food or saliva in the mouth
- Coughing before, during, or after a swallow
- Attempts to clear throat during or after swallow
- Frequent coughing toward the end or immediately after a meal
- Wet/gurgly voice quality after swallow or during meal
- Inability to produce voice
- Increase in secretions in the pharynx or chest after a swallow, toward the end of a meal, or after a meal
- Change in rate of respiration
- Difficulty/inability to breathe
- Change in lung sounds
- Audible or visual breathing
- Chest pain
- Back pain
- Facial grimacing
- Temperature spikes
- Reoccurring pneumonia
- Weight loss when no other reason can be defined