Dysphagia is a medical condition that is generally used to describe the inability to swallow either foods, liquids, or both. Sometimes difficulty swallowing as opposed to the complete inability can also be classified as dysphagia. This condition can be brought about for a number of reasons, including any condition that has an effect on one’s nervous system, certain types of cancer, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Ultimately, living with dysphagia can be difficult, but not impossible. If you are responsible for someone with dysphagia or if you have the condition yourself, here are three things that can help you to cope with it so that you can help your body get the nutrition that it needs.
1. A Quality Food Thickener
When you suffer from dysphagia, you won’t be able to swallow certain foods, even if you are able to chew them properly. One thing that can help you to get the nutrition that you need and consume foods and liquids that are difficult for you to swallow is a food thickener.
This is an additive that works to thicken food purees and liquids. Make sure that the product that you use is one that is of a good quality so that the consistency of the foods you have ends up being right for your dysphagia. Brands like SimplyThick are well reviewed and can help make a big difference in helping you to consume the foods and liquids that you need.
2. Exercise Your Swallowing Muscles
Just as with any other part of your body that is in need of rehabilitation, you can do certain exercises to build up the strength in your swallowing muscles. This can be particularly helpful if your dysphagia is the result of a surgery that you might have had on your throat or mouth area.
Most of these exercises aren’t complicated and are simple to do. It is a good idea to try to work them into your regular routine and perform them at least once a day. The process of building up the strength in your swallowing muscles can take a while, but with persistence, you can help to ease your dysphagia. Bear in mind that you might never be able to fully regain the ability to swallow all types of foods and liquids. However, these exercises can go a long way to easing your symptoms in general.
3. Certain Medications
It is always important to heed all medical advice from your physician when it comes to your dysphagia. Because the condition can result from a variety of illnesses and injuries, you might have been prescribed certain medications to manage your underlying medical condition.
You should stay on top of taking these medications in the correct dosage and with the right frequency, even if you feel that your underlying condition is improving. If you feel like you need a change in your medication, always consult with your physician first before making any changes yourself.