Symptoms of Dysphagia – A Guide For Carers

When caring for an elderly relative or somebody who has recently had a stroke, it may seem like there is more than enough work for you to do to help them with their rehabilitation.

However, if somebody you are caring for has had a stroke, has a degenerative disorder like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, or they are simply elderly, it is well worth knowing a little bit about dysphagia. Dysphagia is simply an issue with swallowing foods and liquids and, if left unchecked, can be devastating to somebody’s nutritional intake, weight, and of course, health.

So, what are some of the symptoms of dysphagia? Read on to find out.

Pain While Swallowing

Pain while swallowing is a common symptom of dysphagia and points to an issue with the esophagus. It’s important to note that if you notice that the person is having issues drinking fluids, they will need a medical assessment promptly. There are foods available that can reduce this discomfort whilst swallowing, as well as pain relief. Head to SimplyThick for a good idea of the aids and thickeners that are available for people who may have dysphagia.


Excessive drooling can be due to acid reflux. In most cases of dysphagia, it signifies that there is a problem with the lower sphincter, usually that it is too relaxed. It’s important to get on top of any symptoms of acid reflux, as these can reduce a person’s appetite and cause abdominal discomfort.


Regurgitating food is also commonly seen in dysphagia if there is an issue with the lower esophageal sphincter, such as it being closed or unresponsive. In this instance, it is important to ensure that the person is taking in the appropriate nutrition, and they may even require a feeding tube to be temporarily fitted until the underlying issue with the sphincter is identified.


Along with drooling, heartburn can also be due to acid reflux and is a common symptom of dysphagia. It can feel like a burning sensation in the chest, coughing up acid, or even in extreme cases, pain across the chest and down both of the arms. If you’re dealing with somebody who is older, that can be a very unnerving symptom, so it’s important to have any instances of heartburn checked out to rule out other serious health issues.

Weight Loss

If somebody is having issues with their eating and swallowing, then the first symptom that you may notice is that they begin to lose weight. As mentioned before, there are foods and drinks available that are loaded with calories to help those who have dysphagia to maintain a healthy weight. Be sure to contact a doctor for guidance on how to manage weight loss in someone who has dysphagia, as well as the best foods to help them to gain weight. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to have them assessed by a doctor as soon as possible to ensure that they get the adequate nutritional intake and a dietary plan put in place.

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