A health condition known as dysphagia is the difficulty to swallow. In this case, it is often a sign that there is an issue with the throat, or as a result of a more severe health complaint. While this can happen to almost anyone, it is most common in the elderly and may pose complications with swallowing food or liquids, causing the individual to cough, gag or vomit.
One of the major concerns for those with trouble swallowing is associated with the diet, as it’s important that they’re consuming all of the main food groups to remain in good health. It may be best to seek help from a dietician to achieve a balanced diet with the foods that can be consumed without difficulty.
In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the key ways you can overcome difficulties with swallowing and make your life much easier.
1. Try thickening liquids
For those who have difficulty swallowing, the only consistency of foods they may be able to consume are liquids, however, it would be best for them to drink thicker consistencies to make them feel fuller, if possible. One way to achieve this is by purchasing a thickening gel from the likes of Simply Thick. This substance is designed to thicken any liquid such as the likes of tea, coffee and supplements.
2. Sit in an upright position
For those who are particularly unwell and haven’t got the energy to move, they may be inclined to lie back and try and eat food, however, this can prove to become even more difficult for swallowing. If possible, position the individual in an upright stance so that the liquid goes down the throat much easier and prevents choking.
3. Feeding through tubes
In some circumstances, it may be advised for your loved one to be fed through a drip, which is otherwise known as ‘artificial nutrition and hydration’. This is suitable for those who are completely unable to feed themselves, such as if they have a long-term condition or are in a coma. If you are interested to know whether or not this should be an option for your loved one, it may be best to get advice from a healthcare professional.
4. Taking medication
Swallowing medication can be a struggle even for those who do not have a throat condition, therefore for those with a condition, this can be near enough impossible. Aside from medication taken through standard tablet form, other options may be considered. Some medications can be taken as a liquid, while those with a terminal illness may be offered the option of delivery through a syringe pump, which distributes medicine through a tube into the body.
It can be difficult to see your loved one suffer, and difficulty swallowing can become a serious concern if the relevant strategies aren’t put in place. If you are concerned about their health and wellbeing, it would be best to seek medical advice on the next steps to take.