June is National Dysphagia Awareness Month. Coastal Dysphagia Diagnostics & Speech Pathology, PC was founded by the desire to increase access to dysphagia services within our community while providing quality and comprehensive care to patients and their families. Working with patients with dysphagia is a passion and a core focus of the services provided. To promote and spread awareness of this diagnosis, it is important to provide education and facts regarding dysphagia for those who may not be familiar.

What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe difficulty swallowing. It may involve the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, or gastroesophageal junction. Dysphagia can affect men and women of all ages. Common causes of dysphagia in adults include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, surgery or trauma to the head or neck, radiation and/or chemotherapy for head and neck cancer treatment, autoimmune conditions, dementia, and critical illness.

While often varied, symptoms of dysphagia may include:

  • Coughing during or immediately following eating or drinking.
  • Wet or gurgly voice during or after eating or drinking.
  • Pain while swallowing (odynophagia).
  • Foods, liquids, or pills feeling “stuck” when swallowing.
  • Extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow.
  • Recurrent pneumonia or chest congestion after eating.
  • Weight loss or dehydration due to decreased food or liquid intake.

Consequences of dysphagia may include malnutrition and dehydration, compromised general health, aspiration pneumonia, chronic lung disease, choking, and even death.

Facts About Dysphagia

According to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders (NFOSD),

  • 1 in 20 Americans have a swallowing disorder.
  • 10 million Americans are evaluated for swallowing disorders each year.
  • 300,000 to 600,000 individuals in the United States are affected by neurogenic dysphagia, which includes individuals with a history of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS.

How We Can Help

A diagnosis of dysphagia typically involves a referral to a speech-language pathologist for further evaluation and treatment. At Coastal Dysphagia Diagnostics & Speech Pathology, PC, we are here to support individuals who may be struggling with dysphagia. Our speech-language pathologist has advanced training and specialization in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders and is committed to providing each patient with an individualized assessment and treatment plan utilizing evidence-based practices. Our goal is not only to improve your swallowing but your overall quality of life. Contact us to learn more!

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