Eating and tasting variable types of food, desserts, and drinks is leisure and fun. It could be one of the most important social activity in our life! We eat with family, friends, beloved ones, groups, colleagues, etc. We all have few difficult moments in our life eating something hard to chew or we harry up drinking and choke with water. However, some people get this difficult moments frequently in their daily living! When swallowing affects our daily living and quality of life it could be threatening! it is called Dysphagia.
Swallowing is a mechanical process starting from chewing food or sucking liquids (Oral Phase) to swallow by pushing food down the throat (Pharyngeal Phase) then entering the esophagus (the tube down to stomach) to reach finally your stomach (Esophageal Phase) .
Dysphagia may occur at any phase. Signs of dysphagia are, but not limited to:
1- Increase chewing time or extra effort to chew.
2- Food/Liquid coming out of mouth.
3- Holding or keeping liquid/food in mouth.
4- Coughing or choking.
5- Wet-gurgly sound voice when talking.
6- Painful swallow.
7- Hard to swallow.
8- Food/liquid comes back from nose.
9- Food stuck in throat/chest.
11- Difficulty breathing.
Dysphagia can cause severe conditions if untreated such as choking, dehydration, poor nutrition, weight loss, and pneumonia (lung infections) and may cause death.
There are many reasons for Dysphagia in Adults. It could be a damage in the brain like a stroke or Alzheimer’s, or in the head and neck like cancer or injury.
Speech Language Pathologist (S-LP) can evaluate swallowing and make recommendations according to the condition in collaboration with other professionals. S-LP may use instrumental techniques in addition to the bedside assessment.
Treatment of dysphagia depends on the type and severity of dysphagia in addition to the cognitive abilities to the client.
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