Many people are affected by swallowing problems. These often occur during the later years. However, an individual with other conditions may also experience this. The medical term for this problem is dysphagia, and there are several types of the conditions where swallowing issues happen, such as in the throat or esophagus.
Living with this issue can be challenging. However, there are some things you can do to cope with them. Plus, with the assistance of a friend, relative, or carer, everyday things can feel more manageable.
Some of the areas that help this condition include:
Maintaining good oral health
Problems that occur with the mouth and throat can lead to poor oral health over time. Assistance with brushing and rinsing will ensure teeth are in good health. This also helps to keep your teeth from wearing down or causing further problems with chewing.
In many cases, people with these types of conditions will need a modified diet to get the best nutritional balance. As swallowing is challenging, a few changes can make the process easier to handle. For example:
Liquids, by nature, are free-flowing. However, this can cause issues due to the consistency. Thickening liquids slow the process and allow an individual to cope better. You can buy products to thicken liquids, such as SimplyThick gel.
Eating smaller and more regularly meals
The eating process can be longer. So to avoid frustration, eat in smaller and more frequent sittings. This breaks meals down and ensures you get all the benefits from your food throughout the day.
Drink from a spoon
Drinking from a cup can be difficult if you struggle to swallow because of the faster flow of liquid. Instead, use a spoon to scoop the liquid into the mouth. This ensures smaller and easy-to-manage amounts are taken.
Choose soft texture foods
Hard food is more challenging to swallow. So, opt for soft texture options instead. These are easier to chew and swallow. Plus, they can be cut into chunks more easily.
Try swallowing therapy
Alongside lifestyle changes, other treatments such as swallowing therapy can help. Experts in this area provide techniques that help your specific problem. This may include exercises that teach you to swallow or how to make the process more manageable.
Adapt mealtime settings
It’s surprising how distractions can make mealtimes more difficult for people with difficulty swallowing. To help with this, it’s a great idea to adjust the dining set to avoid these disturbances. It’s also helpful to sit up properly when eating, so a great way to achieve this is making mealtime a place to sit on a chair or at the table instead of slouching on a sofa or bed. Another key element is to ensure the individual is alert and ready for food before mealtime.
Swallowing difficulties are a challenging condition for sufferers. However, with some minor changes and additional assistance during mealtimes, it can make the process more straightforward and comfortable.