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Incidence Of Swallowing Difficulties

Swallowing difficulties are a common problem, meaning that healthcare professionals should always be vigilant for the symptoms, particularly in older patients. There are a number of studies which give estimates of the likely incidence:

  • A survey conducted in 2005 reported that 60% of patients presenting to community pharmacists experienced problems swallowing tablets or capsules [1].
  • In one study, 44% of retired people suffered swallowing problems sufficiently severe to interfere with their daily life [7].
  • A study enrolled elderly patients who did not report dysphagia and only 16% showed normal swallowing i.e. 84% potentially had some degree of swallowing difficulty [8]
  • Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) affect up to 68% of elderly people in institutionalised environments [9]