How do you know if you have a swallowing problem?

This self-assessment can help you determine if you have a swallowing problem. Carefully consider each statement below as it relates to you and swallowing. Check off those that apply to you:

_ I have recently lost weight without trying.

_ I tend to avoid drinking liquids.

_ I get the sensation of food being stuck in my throat.

_ I tend to drool.

_ I notice food collecting around my gum line.

_ I tend to cough or choke before, during or after eating or drinking.

_ I often have heartburn or a sore throat.

_ I have trouble keeping food or liquid in my mouth.

_ I have trouble moving food to the back of my mouth.

_ It takes me a long time to eat a meal.

_ I sometimes have trouble swallowing pills.

_ My eating habits have changed recently or I have lost my appetite.

_ Sometimes, I have fever for unexplained reasons.

_ I notice changes in my voice quality after eating or drinking.

If you checked off many of the items above you may need to see a speech-language pathologist for a swallowing assessment. Your physician or other health care provider can help you with a referral.

If you have any questions about speech or swallowing problems, please visit the Talk to a Speech Clinician forum, where a team of experts answer questions regarding speech and people with Parkinson's disease.

Want to Learn More?

Read this "Parkinson Report" article:
Ask the Doctor: Summer 2010

Request a free copy of this NPF manual:
Speech and Swallowing

Watch this video:
What types of tests and techniques are there for swallowing problems?

Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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