How to Manage Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a condition where the muscles have trouble swallowing food and drink. It often causes pain for the sufferer and leads to a range of other issues that can quickly become debilitating. While there are a variety of root causes, dysphagia itself needs addressing and managing efficiently to avoid further complications. The focus of this guide will be on tips to manage the more difficult symptoms and ways to move forward. 

Address the Cause

Dysphagia happens for lots of reasons, some of which are more serious than others. Because the scope is so wide, it is important to narrow down the root of the problem before embarking upon a treatment plan. Here are some common causes. 

  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • GERD
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • MS
  • Stroke

As you can see, there is a range of severity to the causes and therefore methods of management are dictated accordingly. If you suspect any of the above conditions are a concern, consulting with your doctor is the first course of action. They are the only ones qualified to offer a treatment pathway. 

Change Your Diet

Sometimes, difficulty swallowing can be managed through subtle dietary changes. Remove harsh, hard-to-chew foods and replace them with pureed versions, soups, and smooth alternatives. While this may feel like an invasive change, the goal is to not advance to suffering with associated problems and complications from a lack of nutrition or hydration. Pureed foods and similar provide comfort in that they are easier to physically take in and process, they do not have harsh lumps or obstructive elements to them, and they require little to no chewing. 

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Make Use of Specific Target Products

Fortunately, modern medicine and health supplements have advanced phenomenally. No condition is left without a number of solution focussed products to ease symptoms and dysphagia is not exempt from this. One of the best ways to combat symptoms is by thickening the liquid to make it more accessible to the swallowing muscles. Try out a product like Simplythick gel thickener, which is used to facilitate easier intake. 

Swallowing Therapy

Swallowing therapy is sometimes used to build muscle strength and stimulate the body into repairing the ongoing issue. While it is not a permanent fix, and it definitely calls for a level of resilience, swallowing therapy can be useful when used correctly. A lack of nutrients and liquid affects physical and mental development, so anything that is capable of combatting this should be considered. Swallowing therapy is not appropriate for all incidences of dysphagia, for example, elderly dementia patients will struggle to engage, but it is useful in some cases. Recovering cancer patients may benefit here, for instance. 

Conclusion

Dysphagia is something that needs managing. It is not a condition that can be left unchecked, as it will only worsen over time and lead to further health complications. Therefore, if you notice the signs, make sure that a health professional has immediate involvement in your care journey. What works for one patient will certainly be unsuitable for the next, and it all depends on resilience capacity, causes, and pain factors too.