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What are the causes of difficulty in swallowing food in the elderly?

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Posted on Thu, 5 Jul 2018
Question: Mother, 101 yrs, seems to have developed a problem swallowing. This has just begun in the last week or two and its not all the time. but today three times chocked eating applesauce. wonder what could be the cause
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Answered by Dr. Saddiq Ulabidin (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Need to be assessed by a neurologist and started on NG feeding

Detailed Answer:
Hi! Welcome to Healthcaremagic. Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. We will try to help you in best way possible. First of all it's sad to know what you had been going through lately.

Based on the history you have shared, she needs to be assessed for detailed neurological examination to look for any underlying stroke causing bulbar palsy or weakness of palate and swallowing muscles. A baseline CT scan to rule out any intracranial bleed should he done.

With such weakness swallowing kindly don't feed her through mouth as it can go into the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia which can be fatal.

A medical emergency follow up and Nasogastric tube placement should be done to assist in feeding meanwhile.

Other baselines and electrolytes levels should also be monitored. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

Hope this has answered your query. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Saddiq Ulabidin

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 3941 Questions

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What are the causes of difficulty in swallowing food in the elderly?

Brief Answer: Need to be assessed by a neurologist and started on NG feeding Detailed Answer: Hi! Welcome to Healthcaremagic. Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. We will try to help you in best way possible. First of all it's sad to know what you had been going through lately. Based on the history you have shared, she needs to be assessed for detailed neurological examination to look for any underlying stroke causing bulbar palsy or weakness of palate and swallowing muscles. A baseline CT scan to rule out any intracranial bleed should he done. With such weakness swallowing kindly don't feed her through mouth as it can go into the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia which can be fatal. A medical emergency follow up and Nasogastric tube placement should be done to assist in feeding meanwhile. Other baselines and electrolytes levels should also be monitored. Wishing her a speedy recovery. Hope this has answered your query. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Regards