Dysphagia 101

What is Dysphagia? 

Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. Dysphagia is associated with a wide variety of medical conditions and is commonly under-diagnosed, which can lead to poor health outcomes and decreased quality of life. 

What Causes Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is often caused by an illness, condition or disease that affects the nerves and muscles in the tongue, mouth and throat, and leads to problems coordinating and/or controlling the swallow. The list below contains some, but not all, possible causes for dysphagia.

Neurological Disorders
Mechanical Causes
Head and Neck Conditions, including Cancer

Learn more about Dysphagia

Dysphagia Prevalence
Consequences of Dysphagia
Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia

How to Recognize Signs and Symptoms

The validated Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) is a symptom specific tool to help measure swallowing difficulties. It has 10 questions and can be completed in as little as 2 minutes.

This simple tool can be completed by the patient, a family member/caregiver or together with their healthcare provider.

Access the EAT-10 Eating Assessment Tool

Dysphagia: Understanding & Recognizing Swallowing Difficulties

  • In this 12 minute educational video, Registered Dietitian Peter Lam discusses the prevalence, signs and symptoms, and clinical consequences of unmanaged dysphagia. Peter includes an overview of basic swallowing physiology, available screening tools, methods of assessment and current management practices. 

Recorded in 2017