Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, occurs due to the development of esophageal webs. The dysphagia present in Plummer-Vinson syndrome is typically post-cricoid.
Esophageal webs are thin membranes of submucosal and mucosal tissue which can protrude and obstruct the esophagus. This can lead to dysphagia.
Glossitis, or inflammation of the tongue, is seen in Plummer-Vinson syndrome, and is often related to nutritional deficiencies. Patients typically display a sore, inflamed tongue. The tongue can be described as "red and shiny," due to inflammation and loss of the lingual papillae.
Patients with Plummer-Vinson syndrome also have iron-deficient anemia as part of the symptomatic triad. Iron-deficient anemia is a microcytic, hypochromic anemia which usually occurs due to bleeding, increased demand in pregnancy, or poor nutrition.
Patients with PVS display a higher risk of developing esophageal squamous cell cancer.
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