Dysphagia is a medical condition that can be triggered by another health problem and is described as difficulty swallowing. When dysphagia is not managed correctly, it could put the patient at serious risk as it can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and even aspiration pneumonia. In order to keep you or a loved one safe from developing complications from dysphagia, you should listen to all of the advice from a medical professional and use this information to closely monitor and carefully manage it. To help make your life easier, here are 5 helpful tips for people living with dysphagia.
Always Stay Hydrated
Good hydration is essential for our health. If someone has dysphagia, they will need to make sure that all drinks and liquids are thickened. Drinking thick liquid will take longer, so managing healthy hydration will require time and patience. When drinking, straws should be avoided. They may seem like a good idea, but the increased flow rate of liquid into the person’s mouth can lead to choking.
Eat Nutritious Food
Getting enough nutrition is essential for people with dysphagia. Their meals may be limited and options will need to be adapted to suit their condition, but this doesn’t mean that they should lack flavor or nutrition. There are many ways different foods can be incorporated into meals. The texture of a meal can also be altered by adding certain ingredients or an instant food thickener by SimplyThick.
Avoid Unsafe Food
There will be many foods that will be unsafe for dysphagia patients and these must be avoided. In most cases, these foods are unsafe because of their natural texture. For example, ice cream melts in the mouth into a thin liquid, which could lead to choking. However, if it is blended up into a milkshake, the texture becomes thick and creamy, which is safe. Jell-O and non-pureed food are also dangerous.
Work on Posture
It is vital for dysphagia patients to work on their posture. This can be tough for people who have a neurological condition, like MS, but being able to sit upright when eating meals and drinking beverages will help it to go down safely and successfully. Posture can be improved with the help of a caregiver and technology. Exercises that improve posture and swallowing should be practiced by mobile patients.
Take Medicine Safely
If someone with dysphagia has to take oral medications on a regular basis, they will no longer be able to do so with water. Instead, they will now need to get used to taking their tablets with a thickened beverage. If the pills are large or difficult to swallow, then they can be crushed and mixed into a thick food, like a pudding.
Unfortunately, dysphagia can’t always be cured, and it may worsen for some people over time. The treatment a person receives will depend on the cause and their abilities. However, with careful and close supervision and the help of a medical professional, the condition can be managed effectively.