Swallowing difficulty, also known as dysphagia, can occur due to a variety of neurological or functional diseases or conditions, including brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, head and neck cancers etc. Something as simple as taking a sip of water can be really challenging for some one suffering from dysphagia.
Swallowing difficulty may involve the following:
- Problems moving food in the mouth
- Trouble starting a swallow
- Difficulty getting food down
- Throat clearing after eating or drinking
- Coughing after eating or drinking
- Wet voice after eating or drinking
The process of swallowing is an important reflex that is necessary for objecting our airways when eating and drinking. When swallowing is impaired the airway is less protected.
Problems with swallowing can lead to:
- Poor nutrition and hydration
- Decreased energy
- A decrease in social interactions that involve food
Speech therapists are trained in the identification, management and treatment of swallowing problems. A Speech therapist can determine what foods are safe, easy and enjoyable to eat, and what exercises and techniques can improve the swallow function. They will work with the client and their families to provide education on the swallowing and how to reduce the risks.
If you or someone you know is experiencing some of these difficulties contact us for an appointment for a swallowing assessment.