Health > Can Throat Clearing Signify Dementia? Learn More To Stay Cautious
1st Jul 2022
Constant Throat Clearing and Dementia

Can Throat Clearing Signify Dementia? Learn More To Stay Cautious

Understanding the subtle signs and symptoms of dementia is crucial for early detection and management. One often overlooked symptom is habitual throat clearing. This article explores the potential link between frequent throat clearing and dementia, offering insights into the complexities of this condition and guidance for those dealing with its impact on everyday life.

What is Dementia?

The state of an individual’s mind that declines gradually and inhibits the daily living style is the standard Dementia definition. It can be addressed as the worsening condition of a person’s mental abilities. A dementia patient exhibits at least two of the following difficulties:

  • Worsening memory
  • Less reasoning
  • Language problems
  • Coordination issues
  • Varied moods
  • Unpredictable behaviour

The Mystery of Throat Clearing: More Than Just a Habit?

Throat clearing, a common reflex action, is usually caused by irritants in the throat or a need to clear blocked airways. However, when it becomes a frequent, unexplained habit, it might indicate an underlying health issue, including neurological disorders like dementia.

What Causes Throat Clearing?

  • Allergies: Reactions to environmental irritants can lead to throat clearing.
  • Acid reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often results in throat irritation.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause dry throat, leading to frequent clearing.
  • Neurological issues: Conditions affecting the brain and nerves may manifest in repetitive behaviors like throat clearing.

Is There a Link Between Throat Clearing and Dementia?

Dementia, characterized by a decline in memory, communication, and thinking skills, might also affect motor functions and behavior. These changes can sometimes present as repetitive actions, including throat clearing.

Recognizing Dementia Symptoms

  • Memory loss: Difficulty recalling recent events and conversations.
  • Communication challenges: Struggles with finding the right words or following conversations.
  • Mood changes: Shifts in mood and personality, including increased confusion, agitation, or withdrawal.
  • Repetitive behaviors: Actions like throat clearing, tapping, or walking back and forth.

When Should You Worry?

Occasional throat clearing is rarely a cause for concern. However, if it becomes frequent and is accompanied by other symptoms of dementia, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable.

Steps to Take

  1. Observation: Note the frequency and context of throat clearing.
  2. Medical Consultation: Schedule an appointment with a doctor for a thorough evaluation.
  3. Comprehensive Assessment: Be prepared for assessments that may include medical history, physical examination, and cognitive tests.

What are Different Dementia Causes?

The regions of the brain associated with reasoning, memory or communication are influenced by any diseases or infection-causing microbes in dementia patients. Alzheimer’s is one of the primary causes. The blood flow to the brain gets blocked, leading to a scarcity of oxygen. A lack of oxygen or nourishment causes the degradation of the brain cells. The different types of causes include:

  • Thyroid influenced
  • Reversible causes like side effects of medicines
  • Lewy body Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease influenced dementia
  • Diverse Dementia


What are the Different Dementia Types?

The different types of dementia are classified primarily based on the causes:

NumberType of DementiaUnderlying cause
1.Primary DementiaDementia is a central disorder
2. Secondary DementiaOther diseases or controlling factors
3.Reversible DementiaSide effects of medicines or other causes producing dementia-like features


While throat clearing in itself is not a definitive sign of dementia, when coupled with other symptoms, it warrants attention. Early detection and support can significantly improve quality of life for those with dementia. For more insights into managing the impact of dementia on daily life, visit our detailed article on “How to Help Loved Ones Understand the Impact of Dementia on Everyday Life”.

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What are the typical signs of dementia patients?

Loss of memory, changes in speech, difficulty swallowing food, constant throat clearing, lack of decision making, anxiety, hallucinations, depression, etc., are some symptoms of dementia patients.


Which are the 6 phases of dementia?

No symptoms, very less, mild, medium to severe decline and severe decline are the six phases of dementia.


What are dementia fidget blankets?

These are specially made blankets that are the size of a laptop and help dementia patients fidget and calm themselves. They can relieve their anxiety, entertain them and move the muscles of the arms.


What are the different types of dementia?

Primary, secondary and reversible are the three types of dementia.