It may be something you’ve never really thought about, but many people suffer from conditions that do not allow them to swallow properly. Swallowing difficulties, like dysphagia, can lead to a slew of other problems that can affect your life in a big way. If you suffer from any swallowing difficulties and are looking for some way to solve the issue, here are some great resources for you!
The list of causes goes on and on: stroke, cancer, neurological diseases, car accident injuries, brain tumor removal. There are 100’s of reasons you may have difficulty swallowing. The longer the list, the more difficult it is to figure out what caused it in the first place. A good way to start is by identifying a few likely causes and then doing some research on each one to figure out if treatment is needed or not. For example, you might want to consider gum disease or sleep apnea as a possible culprit for your symptoms because these can often be treated without too much hassle.
Electrolytes in your body maintain an ideal electrical balance. When you lose too many electrolytes over time through sweating or diarrhea, improper use of medications such as insulin or antidepressants, or fluid loss during vomiting or severe diarrhea, the electrolyte levels become too low and cause neurological damage and even death. People with swallowing issues can get electrolytes back in by drinking drinks that have specifically been created to replace electrolytes. Drinks can be thickened with supplements such as SimplyThick Nectar flavor beverage thickeners to make them easier to drink.
Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty with swallowing. There are many reasons why this can occur, including stroke, neurological diseases and injuries of the head or neck, brain tumor removal, and even tension in the neck/shoulder muscles. One of the most common features of dysphagia is that it often develops suddenly; a patient may go for years without difficulty with swallowing, and then one day have to begin therapy because they have developed a swallowing problem.
Swallowing difficulties also can be caused by a lack of muscle control in the mouth, especially in conditions like cerebral palsy. Some children may actually have physical deficiencies that prevent them from moving their tongue or lips properly, resulting in a very difficult time with eating, drinking, and swallowing. In order to improve these issues, an oral motor therapist may be able to help.
It’s a hands-on procedure that works to repair damage to the swallowing mechanism in the brain and get it functioning properly again. For patients who have no sensation at all in their tongue, or have extreme difficulty/pain with swallowing, this therapy is extremely important because it is not possible for food to move from the mouth into the throat without a functioning tongue.
A speech pathologist who knows about dysphagia can help you get your life back by offering you a variety of different treatments and therapies.