If you yourself have been living with a problem with chewing and swallowing, more commonly known as dysphagia, or moreover you have a close friend or family member that has recently been diagnosed with the condition, as with everything else in life, the more you know, the better.
With that being said, continue reading for a comprehensive guide to living with dysphagia and how this affects an individual on a day-to-day basis.
What Actually Is Dysphagia?
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Essentially, the medical term dysphagia is used to describe when an individual has trouble chewing and swallowing their food.
Aside from the obvious, there are considerably more symptoms of dysphagia that are somewhat less well-known. These include, but are not limited to:
- A struggle to control the amount of saliva in the mouth
- Often choking when attempting to eat
- Heartburn that doesn’t seem to subside
- A particularly rapid and inexplicable weight loss
- Drooling uncontrollably
- The feeling of a piece of food being stuck in the throat
- An inability to gulp properly
Coping With Dysphagia
Fortunately, although individuals living with problems with chewing and swallowing suffer their fair share of pain and discomfort, there is a wide plethora of available options that may help take the proverbial edge of the condition.
There are a multitude of possible assistance and home exercises that may well help ease some of the symptoms of dysphagia, which include but are in no way limited to:
Adjusting Your Posture
Experimenting with turning your head or holding your shoulders and neck could change the direction and speed in which drinks and food enter the mouth and can protect the airway should you cough or choke.
Swallowing and tongue, jaw and lip exercises will increase the range of available angles and movements and stimulate the respiratory muscles and larynx.
For a person living with dysphagia, an often-effective solution to try is to invest in some affordable and incredibly effective thickening liquids such as the established and renowned SimplyThick EasyMix.
Help & Support For People Living With Dysphagia
Contrary to popular belief, the number of people who are diagnosed with the condition of dysphagia is higher than most people realize.
Fortunately, as well as the plethora of available methods for people to manage the condition at home, and there are also many other channels for help and advice, and prescription treatments available from medical professionals.
Healthcare professionals, as well as your own medical doctor, will be able to point you in the direction of a speech and language therapist, most of whom specialize in chewing and swallowing problems. You could also consider arranging an appointment with a diet and nutrition expert to find out more about how to change the consistency and textures of your foods and provide information on other types of feeding.
Additionally, there are several surgical procedures that widen the esophagus in more severe cases of people living with dysphagia if you feel this is necessary.