Like many of the insidious symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, sensori-motor changes in speech and swallowing are thought to be among the earliest symptoms, even pre-dating motor symptoms, and because they may initially present as subtle problems, such as drooling or occasional coughing when drinking or eating, patients may ignore symptoms until swallowing becomes more problematic.

By the time many patients are finally referred for a swallowing evaluation, symptoms are more pronounced, and include reports of: coughing or “choking, a feeling of food or pills “sticking” in the throat or chest, weight loss or requiring a long time to finish a meal.

Readers might be surprised to know that 86% of people with drooling have oral-pharyngeal dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) and day time drooling is associated with silent aspiration (material falling into the airway without triggering a cough response).

Dysphagia reduces quality of life, complicates medication intake and can lead to malnutrition and aspiration pneumonia, which, sadly, remains a leading cause of death in Parkinson’s disease, even though there is evidence that employing behavioral swallowing strategies and undertaking swallowing exercise can go a long way to mitigate this risk.

For this reason, early referral to a speech-language pathologist for assessment of speech and swallowing should be a part of the standard of care for anyone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Upcoming Free Lectures: Swallowing and Parkinson’s 

I have the great honor and opportunity to be presenting two lectures in October pertaining to Swallowing and Parkinson’s disease. The first is sponsored by Hope Parkinson in Cape Coral on Friday, October 4, 2019 from 1-2:30pm. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer period. For additional information contact: Michelle Martin Hope Parkinson Program Coordinator:

On Saturday, October 12, 2019 from 9-12pm, Neurochallenge Foundation will sponsor a lecture discussing Swallowing and Parkinson’s disease   as a part of their Distinguished Speakers Event being held at the Murdock Baptist Church in Port Charlotte, Fl. Also speaking will be London Butterfield, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist who will discuss Tools for Enhancing Cognitive Fitness and Memory.

For additional information visit:

FREE Webinar National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders

As a part of the NFOSD dysphagia webinar series, readers are invited to register for a free, upcoming webinar, October 17, 2019, The Psychosocial Impacts of Dysphagia.

The psychosocial impacts of dysphagia affect nearly every facet of an individual’s life, and this includes spouses and other family members. Ultimately, the health and well-being of the entire family is central to positive outcomes, and when one member of a family faces a chronic health condition, the entire family is simultaneously and reciprocally impacted.

The NFOSD is pleased to offer the webinar for free thanks to an unrestricted educational grant from BRACCO, and people living with dysphagia, their family members and professionals are invited to attend



My MissionTo enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate  and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP                          FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice

Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice