8 Symptoms of Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a serious illness. In 17 people will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life. Those especially at risk include stroke patients, who experience dysphagia at a rate of 50-75%, as well as those who have undergone radiation therapy for cancers residing in the head or neck, who report it at a rate of 60-70%. The elderly are also at a much greater risk. Not only do they experience dysphagia more frequently than younger members of the population, but when they do it can be far more detrimental to their health and well-being. It is important to be aware of any developing symptoms in both yourself and your loved ones.

Should yourself or someone you know experience any of the symptoms in this text, please encourage them to visit a licensed medical doctor. Keep in mind that while these groups may be especially at risk, that no one demographic is immune and even the youngest, healthiest people have the potential to develop dysphagia. Many people experiencing dysphagia may not even be aware that they have it, which leads to it being massively under-diagnosed. Gone untreated, it can be debilitating and even fatal. If you believe that you have experienced or are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please see a licensed doctor and get an official diagnosis.

 1. Pain While Swallowing 

One of the most common and easily identifiable symptoms of dysphagia is a pain while swallowing. If you feel any pain while swallowing that endures for any significant duration then you should visit a licensed doctor so you can receive an official diagnosis. This can often be one of the most dangerous symptoms as it allows for patients to still function to a certain degree, but will enable them to go for weeks without proper nutritional intake. This, especially in the elderly, can be incredibly dangerous. It is important not to try and let it pass or ignore it, as the problem will likely only get worse. If you experience this to even a slight degree it is important to seek help. The sooner the problem is recognized the sooner it can be resolved.

Once again, remember, this symptom should not be ignored. Do not dismiss it. If you are experiencing this then it is very likely that you are experiencing dysphagia. It also means that you are likely still in a relatively early stage of the illness so treatment will be easier and more effective now rather than later after it has progressed. Though this is one of the most common symptoms, it is not the only one. If you experience any of the other symptoms on this list but do not experience any pain while swallowing it would still be in your best interest to visit a licensed doctor and get a definitive diagnosis.