●Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. It takes more time and effort to move food or drinks from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia can be painful and may include problems with saliva. In some cases, swallowing is impossible and a speech pathologist is needed to help.
●Possible causes of dysphagia
○Head and neck cancer
○Neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease, Dementia etc.).
●Other possible causes to swallowing difficulties
○Food stays in the mouth and you have difficulty clearing it.
○Unintentional weight loss.
○Loss of appetite.
○Pain during swallowing.
○Pneumonia (can reoccur).
●Sometimes your food or drink goes down the wrong way. If this happens most of the time people will cough, a natural response to removing the food or drink. If the food or drink or other material enters the airways (lungs) it is called aspiration. This is a serious concern because it can cause blockage of air in and out of the lungs. If penetration occurs slowly over time pneumonia can result.
●Modifications to food textures and/or the consistency of drinks can be recommended by Speech Pathologists to help ensure safe oral intake.
●Strategies to help safe Swallowing
○Sit upright for all food and drink.
○Stay alert and do not watch television whilst eating.
○Eat small manageable mouthfuls at a time.
○Manage your food by chewing thoroughly before the next mouthful.
○Drink slowly and take small sips at a time.
○Make sure you regularly brush your teeth (to prevent further bacteria growing).
●Further information and strategies are provided by speech pathologists.
Contact Access 2 Speech for your personalised consultation to help you manage safe swallowing. Email: email@example.com ph: 0400836254