Nutrition with Swallowing Disorders
Rediscover the Joy of Eating
What is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia describes any form of swallowing difficulties like choking on food or beverages, coughing after or during swallowing and problems with moving food in the mouth. The impact and prevalence of dysphagia are often underestimated. It affects people with a range of conditions, of all ages and often occurs as comorbidity in older adults.
Are you or your loved one suffering from symptoms like:
- Choking on food or beverages?
- Coughing after or during swallowing?
- Coughing or vomiting food up?
- Having a soft and weak voice?
- Aspirating (getting food or liquid into the lungs)?
- Drooling (excessive salivation)?
- Chewing difficulty?
- Problems with moving food to the back of the mouth?
- Food sticking in the throat?
These might be symptoms from swallowing problems, also known as “Dysphagia”.
What are the consequences of dysphagia?
Many people ignore the problems and do not search promptly for professional help. A proper diagnosis is very important because it can influence treatment. As dysphagia makes eating and drinking uncomfortable it could lead to severe health consequences like:
55% of older people with dysphagia are at risk of malnutrition. 45% of very old adults (80 yrs +) are also present with malnutrition.
- Weight loss
Risk of dehydration is greater in patients with dysphagia. It is extremely important to ensure accurate monitoring of fluid intake along with providing palatable, thickened fluids regularly throughout the day.
- Respiratory infections:
When food, drinks or even saliva don't go down the right way but enter the lungs, it can lead to chest infections. Symptoms of chest infections are e.g. fever, cough, and confusion. Aspiration pneumonia is a leading cause of death in dysphagia patients.