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Adult Dysphagia

Signs of dysphagia may include

  • drooling and poor oral management;
  • food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after the swallow;
  • inability to maintain lip closure, leading to food and/or liquids leaking from the oral cavity;
  • food and/or liquids leaking from the nasal cavity;
  • complaints of food "sticking";
  • globus sensation or complaints of a "fullness" in the neck;
  • complaints of pain when swallowing;
  • wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking;
  • coughing during or right after eating or drinking;
  • difficulty coordinating breathing and swallowing;
  • recurring aspiration pneumonia/respiratory infection and/or fever;
  • extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow;
  • changes in eating habits—specifically, avoidance of certain foods/drinks; and
  • weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough.

It is important to consider signs and symptoms of dysphagia within a constellation of other clinical indicators, rather than relying on a single sign or symptom.

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