Dysphagia is the medical term for a difficulty with swallowing. Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others cannot swallow at all.
Examples of swallowing problems people may have include:
- Difficulty getting food and drink up to the mouth
- Problems with chewing
- Difficulty controlling food and drink in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing food and drink
- Sensation of food getting stuck
- Coughing and/or choking when eating and drinking
Dysphagia is usually part of other health conditions, but can also be affected by environmental factors, posture behaviour, and medication.
People with dysphagia can sometimes be at risk of aspiration. This is when food and drinks ‘go down the wrong way’ and into their windpipe and lungs. People who aspirate can be at risk of chest infections, pneumonia, and in some cases, these can be life-threatening.
If you or someone you know presents with signs and symptoms of the swallowing problems listed above, contact a Speech Pathologist for an assessment as soon as possible