Difficulty swallowing food or liquids, which is medically known as dysphagia, can lead to a range of other medical problems. People with this condition might suffer from dehydration or nutritional deficiencies due to not getting the right amount of fluid or nutrients from their diet. Dysphagia can be caused by a number of conditions, although it is most common in elderly people as a result of neurological conditions like dementia or stroke. It can also develop as a result of throat cancer and treatment such as radiation therapy. If you or somebody you care for has this condition, keep reading for some tips to make swallowing food and liquids easier.
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The best type of food or liquid for somebody with dysphagia should be smooth and fairly thick, making it easier to swallow. People with dysphagia might struggle to drink thin liquids like water, juice, tea, or coffee which can lead to aspiration, or the liquid being inhaled into the lungs. To help with this, you can add a product like SimplyThick thickener gel to thicken the consistency of the liquid and make it easier and safer to swallow.
Posture can have a major impact when it comes to swallowing foods and liquids safely. Whether you have dysphagia or are caring for somebody who does, it is important that the person who is eating or drinking is in a comfortable, upright position to aid with swallowing. Staying upright for around thirty minutes after eating can also help with swallowing and digestion.
People with dysphagia may require more time to finish a meal, since eating slowly and taking smaller bites can help to encourage safe swallowing and digestion. If you care for somebody with dysphagia, cutting food up into smaller, more bite-size pieces that do not require a lot of chewing can help. Eating slowly will also help to ensure that the food is chewed properly before swallowing.
Blending or Pureeing
In some cases, people with dysphasia may struggle to eat any kind of solid food, even in the case of soft solid foods. In this situation, it may be necessary to blend or puree foods to make them easier to eat and swallow. Make sure that foods are blended or pureed thoroughly so that there are no lumps. Choose foods that are easy to blend, like well cooked vegetables.
Rehabilitative Therapies and Exercises
Some studies have found that practicing tongue-strengthening exercises and rehabilitative therapies for dysphagia is promising when it comes to helping people improve chewing ability and safety and efficiency when swallowing. A saliva substitute gel can also be used to increase lubrication in the mouth and reduce the amount of effort that is needed while swallowing.
Dysphagia can be a debilitating condition that prevents a person from eating or drinking due to an inability or difficulty swallowing. However, there are several things that you can do to make it easier to swallow food or liquid if yourself or somebody you care for suffers with this condition.