Since water is essential for life, the consequences of dehydration can be very serious. If a person suffering from dehydration also suffers from dysphagia, the repercussions on their health is even higher. 


Consequences of prolonged dehydration:

  • Urinary tract infections due to increased concentration of urine
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Falls
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Headache
  • Hypotension
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Coma and organ failure in very severe cases

Impact of dehydration on swallowing:

  • Decreased saliva production, favouring the appearance of infections in the mouth
  • Difficulty in forming food bolus due to lack of salivation
  • Gingivitis and canker sores due to saliva disorders
  • Aspiration pneumonia

Recommended bibliography:

  • Bunn D et al. Increasing Fluid Intake and Reducing Dehydration Risk in Older People Living in Long-Term Care: A Systematic Review. JAMDA 16 (2015) 101e113
  • Valero MA Assessment and diagnosis of the state of hydration. In Guide to diagnosis and nutritional and rehabilitative treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Chap 7, Page 99. Ed Glosa, 2013