Dysphagia epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Feham Tariq, MD [2], Hamid Qazi, MD, BSc [3]


Dysphagia is a common symptom seen in the elderly poplulation owing to senile physiological changes in the muscles involved in deglutition. The prevalance of dysphagia in the elderly population is 7% to 22% per 100,000 individuals. Patients of all age groups may develop dysphagia and the incidence of dysphagia increases with age.

Epidemiology and Demographics

The epidemiology and demographics of dysphagia are as follows:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]


  • The annual incidence of esophageal food impaction is 25 per 100,000 persons per year.
  • There are a number of causes of different types of dysphagia across the world of which the most common is stroke among the elderly.
  • In Asia, esophageal squamous cell cancer is a common cause of dysphagia while in Africa, Chagas disease is a prevailing etiology.[14]
  • The incidence progressively increases with age, reaching the peak around seventh decade of life.
  • The incidence is higher in males as compared to females.


  • The prevalance of dysphagia in the elderly population is 7% to 22% per 100,000 individuals.
  • It increases to 40% to 50% per 100,000 individuals among geriatric population residing in long-term care facility.
  • Increased prevalance of dysphagia is found in post-stroke patients, acute care settings and nursing care facilities.


  • Patients of all age groups may develop dysphagia, resulting either from structural damage, congenital abnormalities and medical conditions.
  • The incidence of dysphagia increases with age.


  1. Gretarsdottir HM, Jonasson JG, Björnsson ES (2015). "Etiology and management of esophageal food impaction: a population based study". Scand J Gastroenterol. 50 (5): 513–8. doi:10.3109/00365521.2014.983159. PMID 25704642.
  2. Sperry SL, Crockett SD, Miller CB, Shaheen NJ, Dellon ES (2011). "Esophageal foreign-body impactions: epidemiology, time trends, and the impact of the increasing prevalence of eosinophilic esophagitis". Gastrointest Endosc. 74 (5): 985–91. doi:10.1016/j.gie.2011.06.029. PMC 3951006. PMID 21889135.
  3. Siebens H, Trupe E, Siebens A, Cook F, Anshen S, Hanauer R; et al. (1986). "Correlates and consequences of eating dependency in institutionalized elderly". J Am Geriatr Soc. 34 (3): 192–8. PMID 3950287.
  4. Easterling CS, Robbins E (2008). "Dementia and dysphagia". Geriatr Nurs. 29 (4): 275–85. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2007.10.015. PMID 18694703.
  5. Schweizer V (2010). "[Swallowing disorders in the elderly]". Rev Med Suisse. 6 (265): 1859–62. PMID 21053492.
  6. Lindgren S, Janzon L (1991). "Prevalence of swallowing complaints and clinical findings among 50-79-year-old men and women in an urban population". Dysphagia. 6 (4): 187–92. PMID 1778094.
  7. Martino R, Foley N, Bhogal S, Diamant N, Speechley M, Teasell R (2005). "Dysphagia after stroke: incidence, diagnosis, and pulmonary complications". Stroke. 36 (12): 2756–63. doi:10.1161/01.STR.0000190056.76543.eb. PMID 16269630.
  8. Rösler, Alexander; Pfeil, Silke; Lessmann, Hendrik; Höder, Jürgen; Befahr, Alina; von Renteln-Kruse, Wolfgang (2015). "Dysphagia in Dementia: Influence of Dementia Severity and Food Texture on the Prevalence of Aspiration and Latency to Swallow in Hospitalized Geriatric Patients". Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 16 (8): 697–701. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2015.03.020. ISSN 1525-8610.
  9. Wilkins T, Gillies RA, Thomas AM, Wagner PJ (2007). "The prevalence of dysphagia in primary care patients: a HamesNet Research Network study". J Am Board Fam Med. 20 (2): 144–50. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2007.02.060045. PMID 17341750.
  10. Logemann, Jeri A. (1998). Evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders. Austin, Tex: Pro-Ed. ISBN 0-89079-728-5.
  11. Shamburek RD; Farrar JT. Disorders of the digestive system in the elderly. N Engl J Med 1990 Feb 15;322(7):438-43.
  12. Allepaerts S, Delcourt S, Petermans J (2014). "[Swallowing disorders in elderly patients: a multidisciplinary approach]". Rev Med Liege. 69 (5–6): 349–56. PMID 25065244.
  13. Carucci LR, Turner MA (2015). "Dysphagia revisited: common and unusual causes". Radiographics. 35 (1): 105–22. doi:10.1148/rg.351130150. PMID 25590391.
  14. Malagelada JR, Bazzoli F, Boeckxstaens G, De Looze D, Fried M, Kahrilas P; et al. (2015). "World gastroenterology organisation global guidelines: dysphagia--global guidelines and cascades update September 2014". J Clin Gastroenterol. 49 (5): 370–8. doi:10.1097/MCG.0000000000000307. PMID 25853874.

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