Swallowing disorders, termed dysphagia, are narrowly defined as any difficulty with bolus propulsion during the oral, pharyngeal, or esophageal phases of swallowing. Difficulties may arise directly from neurophysiologic and/or anatomic changes in swallowing musculature or indirectly from behaviors interfering with swallowing mechanics. Bolus propulsion impairment often manifests in a delayed or an inefficient bolus transit from mouth to stomach as well as bolus misdirection away from the expected pathway to the stomach. Common dysphagia signs include coughing or choking during or after meals, complaints of food sticking, pain with swallowing, food avoidance, fear of swallowing, unexplained weight loss, dehydration, drooling and/or constant expectoration, and/or recurrent respiratory infection/pneumonia.

However, not everyone with dysphagia demonstrates impaired mechanics. Individuals with decreased alertness due to an acute medical condition may ...

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