Difficulty Swallowing

 

Have trouble swallowing pills? You are not alone.

 

 

A problem shared by many

 

Difficulty swallowing pills is more common than many people realize. In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive1, 40% of American adults reported difficulty swallowing pills, even though most had no trouble swallowing food or liquid.

 

Of this 40%

  • 14% had delayed taking doses of their medication
  • 8% had skipped a dose
  • 4% had discontinued using their medication

 

 

How swallowing works

Swallowing is a process that most of us take for granted, but it is actually one of the most complex neuromuscular interactions in the human body. Because we are programmed to chew before swallowing, the presence of a small pill or tablet can throw some of us off. To swallow a pill or tablet without chewing, the normal process of the body needs to be overridden.2

 

Trouble swallowing

Swallowing problems, known as dysphagia, become more common after the age of 50. While the exact prevalence is unknown, studies indicate that as many as 22% of those over 50 may be affected.3

This section presents the results of a consumer survey about taking pills. Some of the findings are very surprising. We welcome you to take the survey yourself to see how similar your feelings are to those of the surveyed women.
 

  1. Pill-swallowing problems in America. Harris Interactive survey. June 2003.
  2. Santos JM, Cichero J. Inability to swallow tablets is common and cause for concern. Nurs Times. 2012;108(48):11.
  3. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association [Internet]. Communications facts: special populations: dysphagia – 2008 edition [cited 2013 Oct 7]. Available from: http://www.asha.org/research/reports/dysphagia/.

 

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