DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS OF DYSPHAGIA

Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing can be detected by any person or healthcare professional- through observation of signs and symptoms that appear during meals, or through validated questionnaires for symptom screening. However, for a definitive diagnosis, it is important to first consult a doctor. The doctor may perform tests or refer you to a speech therapist for detailed assessment and treatment.

Among the validated questionnaires to discriminate or screen for swallowing disorders, the EAT-10 questionnaire is an Eating Assessment Tool, prepared by Dr. Belafsky under the patronage of Nestlé Health Science. This test allows for the evaluation of specific symptoms of dysphagia, to obtain a direct score. If the total score obtained is greater than or equal to 3, the person may have trouble swallowing effectively and safely and should be evaluated more thoroughly.

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Information provided by the patient, their relatives or caregivers helps the healthcare professional to obtain as much data as possible to form a clinical judgment for the diagnosis.

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Speech therapists are trained to help people with all kinds of oral conditions. We recommend consulting a speech therapist for diagnosis and treatment as they can provide useful information about types of foods and exercises that can be done to help with dysphagia.

 

Recommended bibliography:

  • Belafsky, Peter C., et al. "Validity and reliability of the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10)." Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology 117.12 (2008): 919-924.
  • Clavé Civit P, García Peris P. Guide to diagnosis and nutritional and rehabilitative treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Ed. Glosa, 2011

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