Dysphagia is a condition that leads to painful and difficult swallowing of food. A patient with this ailment will feel pain, struggle to maintain a proper diet or hydration pattern, and feel a somewhat constant level of discomfort. There are clear warning signs to help secure a diagnosis and therefore procure the proper care path. Here are four indicators that dysphagia may be present and ways you can deal with it.
Trouble swallowing can feel like food going down slowly, becoming stuck, or taking more than one attempt to consume it. If any of these symptoms are present, it could be dysphagia but there is a chance it’s something else too. Whatever the root cause, this may feel debilitating, so to counteract it, consider the following solution.
Solution: Try Supplements
Products like Simply Thick LLC provide a much needed supportive hand for making eating and drinking easier. Given that aspiration (food or liquid in the lungs) is a major concern for dysphagia sufferers, anything that slows down the swallowing process is proven to help, and that is what thickener products are for.
Pain in the Breastbone
Often, patients describe a stuck feeling in the breastbone while eating or drinking. This is very painful and can cause panic which worsens the effect. Unfortunately, it happens because food literally becomes stuck on its path downwards, and is a lot more effort to actually consume. This is just one of the devastating symptoms to deal with. The best tip for addressing it is shown below.
Solution: Smaller Portions Eaten Slowly
It might sound simple, but it’s true. Smaller portions that are eaten more slowly and with a clear focus lessen the discomfort. Chop food up into smaller pieces and really take your time chewing. Concentrate only on swallowing when it is time, and this should ensure that the small parts go down with less friction.
Chewing abilities are also affected. It feels like an extreme effort to masticate and get the jaw moving, sometimes because of the fear of what’s to come and others because of the way the muscles involved in eating and swallowing are being affected. It makes meal times a real chore and even leads to food or drink aversion. This is not ideal as the consequences of dehydration and malnutrition are extremely difficult to manage and overcome.
Solution: Smoother Food
Try avoiding hard to eat foods and instead opt for smooth products like mashed potato or soups. Yogurts, pureed meat, and scrambled or soft varieties of dishes are also helpful.
One of the more debilitating symptoms is often excessive saliva. The mouth overcompensates for the ongoing difficulties and produces extra drool which in turn involuntary leaves the area. It can be embarrassing and messy, but it’s important to counteract this by staying hydrated.
Solution: Stay Hydrated
Find ways to stay hydrated above all else. The body cannot survive without proper hydration.
Dysphagia is manageable in some cases unless the underlying cause is a degenerative condition. The focus should be on pain relief and strengthening muscles.