“All cases of dysphagia warrant medical attention … untreated swallowing disorders can lead to complications, including weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, choking, a type of pneumonia caused by inhalation of food liquid, gases, dust, or fungi (aspiration pneumonia), and even death.”
– PDR Health. Swallowing Difficulties Diagnosis.
“It’s a sign,” is a phrase often uttered about future misfortune. One could say the same of medical signs because they often indicate medical problems. However, signs and symptoms can also lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. This is true of dysphagia. Patient and caregiver education about the classic symptoms and signs of dysphagia could lead to earlier diagnosis.
Dysphagia, itself, can be a symptom of other health issues. However, it has its own symptoms. Knowing these can lead to an earlier diagnosis and better quality of life for patients. Symptoms of dysphagia include the sensation of food sticking in the chest or throat, heartburn, less enjoyment of eating and drinking and pain upon swallowing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association writes that such symptoms can lead to “embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating.”
Sometimes, patients with dysphagia are unable to tell their caregivers about their symptoms. In such situations, caregivers and physicians need to watch for certain signs. Such signs include weight loss, dehydration, recurrent pneumonia and regurgitation. Unusual behavior due to dysphagia might include changes in food preferences and eating habits, drooling and excessive belching.
Educating caregivers and patients about classic signs and symptoms of dysphagia could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. Orbis Biosciences® uses Precision Particle FabricationTM technology to develop drugs in formats that are appropriate for patients with dysphagia. Our format flexibility and taste masking capabilities can make medications suitable for a variety of patient populations who find swallowing pills difficult, such as pediatrics, geriatrics and those patients suffering from dysphagia. Patient and caregiver education about dysphagia signs and symptoms is important to ensure patients are prescribed appropriate dosage forms. With such education, the phrase “it’s a sign,” when applied to dysphagia, will mean only earlier diagnosis and more appropriate treatment.