aging, deglutition, dysphagia, reflux, swallowing



  1. Bender, Brenda K. PhD, CCC-SLP


The prevalence of reflux, gastroesophageal or laryngopharyngeal, is increasing in the older adult population, affecting an estimated 59% of individuals older than 65 years. These individuals do not report the most common symptom of reflux, which is heartburn. Instead, older adults more often report vague symptoms such as globus pharyngeus, dysphagia, and coughing or choking. Severe reflux can contribute to small functional changes in the swallow. In addition, physiological changes in connective tissue and muscle strength due to aging can further disrupt swallowing in this population. Careful evaluation and treatment of this population for reflux may resolve these nonspecific swallowing complaints.