Dysphagia is difficulty in swallowing. Symptoms include coughing during or after swallowing, choking on food or liquid, pain during swallowing and the feeling that food is stuck in the throat. While it occurs most often in the elderly, it can affect people of all ages.
Dysphagia sometimes occurs after a stroke, traumatic head or spinal cord injury, radiation therapy or surgery for head and neck cancer, or after intubation (when a breathing tube is placed in the throat). Dysphagia is also common in people with neurologic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or dementia.
If not managed well, dysphagia can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by food or liquid going down the airway and into the lungs. It also can cause problems such as chronic malnutrition and dehydration, which can lead to weight loss, muscle loss, and physical weakness.
The Adult Dysphagia Program at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital offers evidenced-based swallowing evaluation and treatment, including:
For more information about the outpatient the Swallowing Disorders Program at RCP, please call 864-455-8788.