Presbyphagia Versus Dysphagia: Identifying Age-Related Changes in Swallow Function Presbyphagia refers to the characteristic changes in the swallowing mechanism of healthy older adults that result from the normal aging process. These changes have an impact on each stage of deglutition. Presbyphagia can lead to impaired bolus control and transport, the slowing of pharyngeal swallow initiation, ineffective pharyngeal clearance, impaired ... Article
Article  |   March 27, 2018
Presbyphagia Versus Dysphagia: Identifying Age-Related Changes in Swallow Function
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yvette M. McCoy
    Speak Well Solutions, LLC, Speech Pathology, Leonardtown, MD
    MedStar NRH Rehabilitation Network, Brandywine, MD
  • Rinki Varindani Desai
    HealthPRO–Heritage, Dallas, TX
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Portions of this information have been presented in the form of a webinar for Northern Speech Services.
    Financial: Portions of this information have been presented in the form of a webinar for Northern Speech Services.×
  • Nonfinancial: Portions of this information have been presented at the 2015 Annual Convention of the American Speech and Hearing Association.
    Nonfinancial: Portions of this information have been presented at the 2015 Annual Convention of the American Speech and Hearing Association.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Part 1
Article   |   March 27, 2018
Presbyphagia Versus Dysphagia: Identifying Age-Related Changes in Swallow Function
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2018, Vol. 3, 15-21. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG15.15
History: Received September 28, 2017 , Revised February 3, 2018 , Accepted February 18, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2018, Vol. 3, 15-21. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG15.15
History: Received September 28, 2017; Revised February 3, 2018; Accepted February 18, 2018

Presbyphagia refers to the characteristic changes in the swallowing mechanism of healthy older adults that result from the normal aging process. These changes have an impact on each stage of deglutition. Presbyphagia can lead to impaired bolus control and transport, the slowing of pharyngeal swallow initiation, ineffective pharyngeal clearance, impaired cricopharyngeal opening, and reduced secondary esophageal peristalsis, with serious consequences for independence and quality of life.

Misattributing healthy age-related changes to impairments affects patient care and the optimum use of health care resources. In order to effectively identify and distinguish between presbyphagic and dysphagic symptoms in the older adult and to subsequently manage these individuals successfully, clinicians must have a clear understanding of how aging affects the anatomy, physiology, and functioning of the swallowing mechanism. This article explores prebysphagia, that is, changes in the aging swallow in otherwise healthy older adults, in further detail, and clinician's perceptions of their readiness to treat such disorders.

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