Life Health & Wellbeing

Monday 5 December 2016

Call for more research on swallowing problems

Published 22/11/2016 | 02:30

Swallowing difficulty
Swallowing difficulty

Swallowing disorders affect around 5pc of the general population and the problem is greatest among the elderly.

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Common causes include stroke, Parkinson's disease, dementia and head and neck cancer.

Swallowing difficulties can have a major impact on the quality of life for individuals and their carers, according to experts from the Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies in Trinity College Dublin.

It can can also lead to serious choking episodes, recurrent pneumonias, malnutrition, and dehydration. Overall mortality rate ranges from 20pc to 50pc, with rates as high as 80pc in some groups.

Despite its prevalence and the impact it has on so many aspects of daily life as well as on health and well-being, the condition which is formally known as dysphagia, remains under-diagnosed and untreated in many medical centres worldwide.

The treatment of swallowing difficulties is advancing internationally but high-quality research is urgently required in this area.

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