Innovating the Medication Industry

What You Need To Know About Swallowing Disorders In Adults

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Swallowing disorders, also know as dysphagia, can be found in all types of patients. However, they’re most commonly found in older adults and seniors. While many patients complain that swallowing disorders are annoying or painful, they can also be very dangerous. The difficultly and pain caused by dysphagia can also lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and the inability to take important medications.

Symptoms

General symptoms of dysphagia include coughing during eating or drinking, a gurgly voice after eating or drinking, extra effort chewing or swallowing, and food or liquid leaking from the mouth. Long-term symptoms of dysphagia include malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, recurring pneumonia, and the inability to take important oral medications.

While these symptoms are uncomfortable and dangerous, they can also be embarrassing. Many patients start to feel embarrassed when eating around others. Because of this, isolation is also considered a symptom.

Causes

The two main causes of swallowing disorders in adults and seniors are injury or illness.

Generally diseases like Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscular dystrophy can cause dysphagia. These diseases cause damage to the muscles and nervous system that control swallowing. Injuries including brain and spinal chord injuries may cause dysphagia. Additionally, cancer, cancer treatments, stroke, and tooth decay may cause swallowing disorders.

Treatment

The type of treatment needed to dysphagia depends on the cause of the swallowing problem. Common treatments include muscle exercises, special swallowing strategies, and a special diet. The family and caregivers or the patients can help with treatment by understanding it, preparing the food for a special diet, and keeping track of how much is being eaten and drank. Keeping track of food and liquid consumption is especially important. If the family member or caregiver sees that the patient is not eating a drink enough, another treatment may be needed.

19 Comments

  1. Andrea Myers on March 2, 2018 at 6:22 am

    It really helped me when you said that coughing during eating or drinking is a sign of having a dysphagia. My grandfather is experiencing this everytime he eats, and he has a hard time swallowing his food. I also heard about instant food thickener that can help people with swallowing difficulty. I will check more about this product and will also bring my grandfather to a doctor for consultation.

    • Trina Maraczi on March 2, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      We’re so glad we could help! Make sure to take your grandfather to a licensed medical professional before making any changes to his medications or diet.

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