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Many people have trouble swallowing at some time, perhaps because of a sore throat or tonsillitis or because of extreme anxiety. Feeling as though you have a lump in your throat is common when we are stressed or very nervous.

For some people, however, swallowing difficulties can create real distress as they prevent eating and drinking in social situations. This is known as dysphagia and although patients may be reluctant to mention it to their doctor, there is no need to suffer unnecessarily.

Who experiences swallowing difficulties?

Dsyphagia becomes more common with age and many elderly people experience swallowing difficulties, particularly if they have to take several tablets a day.

Swallowing problems are also more common if you:

  • are recovering after a stroke: around 8 out of 10 patients who have had a stroke will develop dysphagia.
  • have Parkinson’s disease: swallowing problems affect around 6 out of 10 patients with symptomatic Parkinson’s.
  • have long-standing diabetes: the peripheral nerve damage that occurs in diabetes can interfere with the process of swallowing.
  • have had throat surgery, have been intubated for a long period (such as in intensive care) or who have had radiotherapy to the throat, head or neck.
  • have Alzheimer’s disease or motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis.
  • have had salivary gland problems, or who have had salivary glands removed and who cannot produce enough saliva.
  • have a dry mouth due to some other cause, such as those who experience a lack of saliva as an adverse effect of medication.
  • have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which acid from the stomach enters the oesophagus and damages some of the nerves that are important for swallowing.

At The London Clinic, we have ear, nose and throat specialists with expertise in diagnosing and treating various types of swallowing disorders.

Appointment enquiries: +44 (0) 20 3944 1073 Concierge service: +44 (0) 203 219 3323 Self-Pay service: +44 (0) 203 918 7301International office: +44 (0) 203 219 3266 Invoice and payment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7708 General enquiries: +44 (0) 20 3918 9135

Breast services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7760 Eye centre appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7768 Haematology appointments: +44 (0) 207 535 5503 Kidney services appointments: +44 (0) 207 224 5234 Liver services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7651 Radiology appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653

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