Thousands of people in the US struggle with the condition of dysphagia, but what is it? Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe a person with swallowing difficulties. There are many different types of dysphagia. Some people may have trouble swallowing certain liquids or foods, while others cannot swallow anything. Other signs of this condition include bringing food back up, choking or coughing when eating or drinking, being unable to chew food properly, persistent drooling, and a sensation that food is stuck in your throat.
The good news for people who struggle with this condition is that there are lots of simple things you can do to manage dysphagia. If you’re living with this condition, then here are some of our top tips to help you:
1. Make Sure You Sit Upright
One of the best tips we can give you is to ensure you sit upright and take your time chewing your food. Sitting upright can help to open your food pipe, meaning you are less likely to choke on the small pieces of food you swallow.
2. Relax Before Mealtimes
Many people who suffer from this condition find themselves getting stressed or worked up at mealtimes. This can make swallowing even more difficult. Thanks to this, it’s essential to try and relax during mealtimes.
3. Consider a Food Thickener
Another excellent tip for people with dysphagia is to consider using a food thickener. A food thickener such as the one produced by Simply Thick LLC will allow you to enjoy your food and drink (including carbonated drinks) without worrying about struggling to swallow.
4. Eat Smaller Meals
The majority of people with dysphagia find it much easier to eat smaller meals rather than three large meals daily. While this may take up a bit more of your time, it ensures you continue to get the right amount of nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
5. Take Sips of Water Between Mouthfuls
If you’re eating a large meal, it’s a good idea to have a small cup of water handy should you need a drink. Taking sips of water between your mouthfuls can help your food travel down your esophagus more easily, but don’t drink too much, or you may find yourself choking.
6. Lifestyle Changes
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with dysphagia and you’re a smoker, then now might be the time to consider quitting. While most of us know many of the health risks associated with smoking, you may not realize that smoking can exacerbate dysphagia. As well as stopping smoking, it’s also a good idea to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, as alcohol has been proven to irritate the esophagus, leading to reflux or making it even harder for you to swallow.
Dysphagia can be a horrible condition to live with. Not only can it cause discomfort, but it can leave you feeling isolated, as you can no longer enjoy eating food and having a drink with your family and friends. However, there are lots of simple things you can do to improve the symptoms of this condition. Why not try out some of our suggestions above?